The Venomous SBA Strikes Again… Story Two… Pasco, WA

Let’s just get real.  Right from the get go.

Let’s call a snake a snake.

The SBA is a snake.

It coils itself around classrooms and injects its poison into the hearts, minds, and spirits of everyone it touches.

Story Two

This next story came to me from a parent of a 3rd grader living in Pasco, WA.  As you read this story consider the time element and impact this test has on classroom instruction time.

The Parents Letter

I have a 3rd grader that I have opted out/refused SBAC.  His class took the ELA part April 14th and 16th.  The math portion is scheduled for May 5 and 7. I kept my child home with the plan being, I would take him into school as soon as testing was over, around lunchtime. 

Tuesday, I called and spoke with the teacher at noon and she had two still testing, but they were being moved to another room to finish. She said I could go ahead and bring my child in for the remainder of their day. 

Thursday, I called her at 12:17.  She said no one was finished yet.  She also had no idea how much longer they were going to be.  She said she had a student in tears. She began to cry as she was telling me this. She is a 24 year veteran third grade teacher.  Together, we decided it would be best to keep my child home for the remainder of the day.  My son and I went in after school to take his wonderful teacher a gift to cheer her up.  I spoke with her and another teacher regarding their day.

Here is a bit more detail regarding Thursday, the second day of testing for these children. School begins at 9:00, she had a “lesson” to teach prior to them starting the test. This “lesson” gives the students the context for what they will be facing in the ELA Performance Task. By 9:30, the class was logging on and beginning their test.  They all were still working on the test at lunch time. The students have lunch at 11:55.  They were given a short lunch break.  They had been given bathroom breaks. The kids began again after lunch.  School is out at 3:40.  There were students still testing at 3:35.  Those students did not finish. 

These children are 8 and 9 years old. 

They did not go to recess because there is the chance that these children would discuss the test with other children who had already finished. (Because when you are 8 or 9, cheating on a test is the only thing on your mind.) 

The other teacher had two students finish the test in 35 minutes.  Another class had about 25 finish by lunch.  There are five 3rd grade classes at this school.  There are about 28-29 students in each class, so approximately 145 students are in 3rd grade. 

Out of the 5 classes, one teacher is retiring, one is not coming back after the birth of her second child, and a third is trying to decide if she will retire this year.  All due to the testing and teaching to the test.  They want to teach.  They don’t want to teach their kids how to test.

Currently, this week the children are MAP testing. This is ANOTHER test required of the children by the district and involves a day of testing ELA, and another to test Math, also on the computer. Add the Math portions of the SBA coming in May and this equals 3 weeks in a row of testing for 3rd grade.

I only know of one other child in 3rd grade that was opted out/refused in this school.  There will be more in the higher grades (4th & 5th) because word is getting out parents can opt their children out.

Teachers will talk in private, they hate the testing.  They hate what they “have” to teach.  I have a relative that teaches 3rd grade in the next city over and she said “Thank You!” when I told her I was not allowing my three kids to take the SBAC. I personally am very involved with my younger kid’s school and the district.  I have talked to so many people within this district, teachers, administrators, parents, PAE.  The staff are walking the fine line they have to. 

I don’t have to. 

I can and will speak up for all these kids. 

I have to! 

Our kids, our country, they depend on me and others like me to speak up.  Our children are NOT getting the education a country like the United States should provide.  We are not a leader in education.  We are not making these children ready for college or life by teaching them to the test.

Sincerely,

A Parent of a 3rd grader with a conscience (emphasis mine) 

Concluding Thoughts

Ask yourself if you really believe the above four components only take a 3rd grader 8 hours.

Dare the truth be exposed?  Some (many?) District Offices, Departments of Ed, and others are saying, “This testing only takes 8 hours.”

Another bold faced lie.

Deceptive.

These children often take two days on the ELA performance task, and there are still 3 other test days, some of these sucking up more than one day, depending on the class and the students.

Do the powers that be think they are getting valid and reliable results from these young minds? How many adults sit from 9 – 2:55 in front of a computer with only a 30 minute lunch break…  facing question after question requiring high levels of reasoning.

REALLY?

Educated adults are for this?

Educated adults in charge, casting their votes, want to continue to pour billions of dollars into testing?

For what?

This is horrific and wrong and awful and unethical and putrid and poisonous to the core.

It is time to starve this scaly monster and OPT OUT.

The venomous testing snake is here.

Unless, of course, we slay the reptile.

My blood is boiling… is yours?

Passionately Submitted,

RAZ ON FIRE

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8 thoughts on “The Venomous SBA Strikes Again… Story Two… Pasco, WA

  1. I am a third grade teacher. I had the same experience as the teacher in this article. I, too, had a child break down in tears because she was overwhelmed. I cried as well.

    They say these test only take 2 hours. I had some students who took 5 hours. For ONE test.

    My heart breaks for my kids. They are 8 and 9 years old. I have tried not so hard not to add stress, but it is hard.

    I have been teaching 31 years. If I could retire, I would. 2 years will see me out of the classroom. Not because of the children, but because of these tests and the evaluation process.

    Let me be clear: I have no problem with being held accountable for my students’ learning, but this is not the way.

    This test is wrong on so many levels.

    Like

    1. Thank you for your heartfelt comment, Kris. This is wrong on so many levels… I appreciate you sharing your story. They need to be told.

      Thank you for giving your very best to these young children.

      ~Raz

      Like

  2. What happened to good old caring about students and teaching them the basics to get them started in this mean old world? I hated tests and I’m almost 78years old. I’m actually pretty smart at my age. I hate to see our kids tested beyond their young limits.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My teachers are getting in HUGE trouble if they tell us refusing is an option. This last week four students got a hall pass during resource (time set aside for students to talk to teachers and take care of other school related things) to go to the office and get the paper work to refuse. Before the students got back to class the secretary called and chewed out my teacher for letting them get the paper work during the time set aside for us to do things like this. We could hear most of the conversation and the phone wasn’t even on speaker. My teacher has been seriously debating retiring.
    The school board is calling it ‘unprofessional’ to notify high schoolers of our options. What I think is ‘unprofessional’ is trying to hide our options from us. They are forcing us to take tests after we were told we had to take no more required standardized tests. I’m already taking the psat, sat, and AP English testing, plus looking for collages. I do not need one more test the will pre ordain my future.
    Plus I’m not going to a regular college. The colleges in looking at admit purely on my skill as a horse back rider. I don’t have to take English and math and science to succeed in my career path, yet the school system requires me to follow common core and take standardized tests. I gain nothing other than a statistical number from taking the sbac.
    I have refused to take the sbac as have most of my junior class.

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    1. I’m proud of you Kayla! Although many want to say we are teaching you the wrong thing, I disagree. When there are unethical mandates that are harmful to children, we as educators and parents must stand in the gap. Kayla, you are so much more than a score. You have so much potential in regards to your natural gifts and talents. You will find them as you walk through life. I began as a “mathie” person and now look at me in my middle age. I have fallen in love with writing! Who “woulda thunk?” My SAT scores in high school were average for the ELA side and high on the math side. As I think back, there was no way for the SAT to really define my writing style or my twisty way I like to go about it. You are a unique and precious person. I’m glad you took a stand to send a message regarding these tests! Would love to hear where you end up in college and where your life may find you… -Raz

      Like

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