It’s only the first few weeks of the Smarter Balanced Assessment and already stories of its poisonous venom are striking into our children’s lives. This is only the beginning. More of these stories will be cascading in, as the toxic testing continues.
The testing puts our children in developmentally inappropriate conditions as they are made to peck at their keyboards. The performance tasks require paragraphs. This test is discriminatory in more than a handful of ways, and it is definitely not a tool to measure how well our children are doing in school.
The stories of threats to those opting out are seeping into the walls of Washington State Schools, including to the children themselves, who are being told at school without their parent present… “if they don’t take the test they will have to repeat the grade, not be allowed to go to the next grade, or go to summer school.” This is rotten to the poisonous core.
A bold face lie.
This story is the first in a series as I know there will be many, many more. It comes right out of my home school district, Spokane Public Schools. I have opted to protect the names of the principal, teacher, and the school this occurred, to maintain their confidentiality. The saddest part is all the people involved are wonderful educators who I admire and respect. They too are victims in this toxic web.
The teacher sent this letter to the union president, Jenny Rose, of Spokane Education Association. This teacher made the request it be sent onto me, as well as the WEA President Kim Mead, and all legislators. I was asked to publish it on this blog.
I recently sent you a copy of a letter that my principal wrote to the parents of my students regarding an SBAC testing screw up. My third graders had to retake the SBAC ELA (non-performance) assessment because the state issued the wrong test to my students last month.
Once we discovered the mix up, my principal did his best to fight the state testing administrators to accept responsibility for the error they created. But, we were told that my students had to retake the assessment.
So, we started the make-up process this past week. Due to a tight building testing schedule, my students had to take the SBAC Performance Task Assessment AND re-take the SBAC ELA Assessment (non-performance).
Needless to say, this past school week was extremely stressful for my students. Monday through Wednesday was wall to wall testing. There was no teaching happening those three days. By late Wednesday, my principal and I realized we needed to let students finish the ELA Nonperformance assessment (retake) in order to meet a state imposed deadline. So, Thursday morning, nearly half my class spent more time testing. Again, no formal teaching due to kids on computers testing. Yesterday (Friday) was the first full day of the week I was able to teach any of my time bound curriculum.
Jenny, I am providing you this detailed narrative so that you can add this example to future SBAC talking points with our members, the media and our state legislature. I just finished reading a letter to the editor (Seattle Times) written by Kim Mead. In that letter she indicated that other third grade classrooms, one in Richland and the other in Mukilteo, experienced the same testing fiasco that I am currently trying to correct.
In conclusion, I am disgusted by what has happened to my 8 and 9 year old students. As their teacher, I’m feeling defeated and helpless. Starting Monday morning, I have about 11 students who still need to wrap up the ELA Performance Task Assessment. And, another day will be spent testing and not learning.
A 3rd grade Teacher with a conscience (emphasis mine)
This is a tragedy and a disgrace to our current educational system.
- How can the results possibly be valid and reliable for these students?
- How can the legislators even think about using this test to measure the value of a teacher?
- Who can justify the money being spent on this test (billions) denying our public schools low class size and decent compensation for those serving our future?
It is time to starve this monster and OPT OUT.
The venomous testing monster is here.
Unless, of course, we slay the beast.
My blood is boiling… is yours?
RAZ ON FIRE