Monthly Archives: June 2015

Toxic Testing Loses… How We Beheaded a Bully Snake

It has only been a few days, but longer than 24 hours.

I mentioned in Story Eight, There Are Some Bully Snakes When It Comes To Toxic Testing, how my peers have imparted the wisdom of waiting for 24 hours before responding to anything when angry.

I didn’t wait…. and I wrote Story Eight instantly.  This is the follow up to the original story.

So many of the stories dealing with the high stakes test pull at the heartstrings.

After all, this IS about our children…

nia 8

Children, who are forced, at younger and younger ages, to sit in front of computer screens testing for up to six hours in a day.

Children, who sit in front of computers testing longer than college age students.

Children, with hand spans not large enough to reach all the keys on the keyboard.  Peck, Peck, Peck… for hours.

Children, as neuroscience shows, are not developmentally ready to show mastery of deep levels of reasoning.

So… it has been longer than 24 hours.  And I still feel mad and infuriated and want to get on an airplane and fly to Michigan to give this 3rd grade little girl a great big hug.  Since it’s not possible, my son and I took a different approach.

We considered what some bully snakes did to this little girl who was the only one opted out of the State Test in her grade.  We considered her tears, as she was made to sit amongst her classmates while they made ice cream sundaes and ate them in front of her.  We considered all the amazing things this little girl accomplished in her third grade year.  We asked questions like:

  1. Did she read some amazing books and increase her vocabulary this year?
  2. Did she learn how to multiply?
  3. Did she try hard to learn all the other days in the school year?
  4. What learning did she show IN her classroom?
  5. Does the teacher have any evidence of growth in this child?
  6. What gifts and talents did this child bring to her classroom?  Were they encouraged?
  7. Does the teacher have the test scores back for the other children in the class?  How well did they do on the test?   (I’m sure the test scores won’t come back until after school is out)
  8. What do we hold most dear in our children?

I’m tired of the message we are sending to the youth in our country.  I’m tired of the mandates put upon our youth’s shoulders pushing them to test constantly, in order to prove their worth.  I’m tired of a score on a test speaking louder than a creative story they put weeks into, and illustrated in artistic ways.  I’m tired of the emphasis placed on arbitrary numbers playing King, when children are capable of more than what is measurable.

Common Core Tests make no Common Sense.

Common Core Tests are limiting.

Common Core Tests do not measure curiosity, creativity, imagination, innovation, perseverance, tenacity, passion, or the love of learning.

Common Core Tests will never compete with the portfolio of evidence I’ve been given as a parent and hold in my hands… can see with my own eyes… beaming with pride of course… and the enriching conversations I have had throughout the school year with my child’s teacher.

Common Core Tests do not measure what children at young ages know and are able to do.

Common Core Tests are Snakes.

Common Core Tests turn some people into Snakes.

Bully Snakes.

Bullies.

Beheading the Bull Snake

Nia 10

It has been one of my missions as a parent to teach my own child empathy (another attribute not measurable by a test).  After writing Story Eight, about this little girl and how she was treated by some “adults” in her school, my son and I went shopping.  We decided to fill a basket full of an Ice Cream Sundae Party!

Nia 5Included are: A “Frozen Theme”, appropriate for an ice cream theme, and… invitations, the DVD of “Frozen”, syrups, sprinkles, summer towel, sun screen, and more!  My son sets aside part of his allowance to give towards others…  He placed enough cash in an envelope so she and her momma can buy a big carton of ice cream.

We hope this unique and precious child makes the hugest ice cream sundae ever, and giggles with her friends through the movie “Frozen”.  She has a lot to be proud of as she completes third grade.  We added a spiral notebook so she can start writing down all the amazing things she does and can do.  We also hope it will be a place where she will write all of her dreams.  A place where her imagination will soar.

Our letters to a True Princess:

The first two pages in the spiral notebook contain our letters:

Nia 2           Nia 1

Today we beheaded a Bull Snake with an Act of Kindness.

We countered bullying behavior with a “Frozen” ice cream sundae party to celebrate the accomplishments a little girl made in an entire school year…  Those accomplishments out weigh a Toxic State Test.

Today we send a clear message to: our legislators, congress men and women, National Department of Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, Michigan State’s Superintendent and all Michigan State Government Officials, and our own Superintendent of Washington State, Randy Dorn…

Stop Measuring Our Children With Tests.

Stop Profiting Testing Companies.

Start Focusing on How Children Learn.

Gifted ChildrenParents know their children well.  We are opting our children out of the toxic tests because we do not believe it is right for our children.  It is harmful and child abuse.

The mother of the child in this story got a call from the school principal after the school district’s phones rang off the hook, and letters were posted on the school’s Facebook page, sharing outrage of her bullying behavior from all over the nation.  She left a message with an apology, and asked how she could make this up to the child.

The mom wants to establish humane treatment for all children who are opted out of the tests.  Next steps are being considered…

One Snake Slain, and Several More To Go…

Passionately Submitted,

RAZ ON FIRE

AND

SON

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There Are Some Bully Snakes When It Comes To Toxic Testing

I’m mad.

No.

I’m infuriated.

As I have grown older and wiser, and taken the advice from many peers, they have often suggested “to wait 24 hours before responding”.

Cool Down.

Sleep on it.

Chew on it.

Wait.

Breath.Bully 2

In this case, 24 hours will not change the red I see, or the shame I feel, about an adult BULLY in any school.

This principal is 100% Bull Snake.

This is uncalled for and inexcusable.

Period.

What am I so infuriated about?

Read the story first and see if your blood will boil like mine before I comment further.

Story Eight

bully 7“My daughter’s school awarded the students who completed the M-STEP (Michigan’s state test) with ice cream sundaes today. My daughter was the only one in her school who refused the test. Soooo… she sat in her class and cried while the other kids ate. She was most hurt by her principal (who explicitly let her know she could NOT have a sundae) and her teacher who coughed out, “don’t give N#% a napkin” to the little girl who passed them out.”

As of 9:30 p.m. Pacific Time, June 4th, 317 comments have been posted to this mother’s story.

Here are four selected comments to give a small taste of the outrage:

1) “What?!? These brainwashed educators are seriously in the wrong career, if tests are more important than a child’s social and emotional well being in their brain, then they need to leave the field. Blindly following those in control is a serious issue in education right now.”

2) “This is abuse!”

3) “This happened to my daughter last year in 5th grade. She was the only one in her entire GRADE who was excluded. She sat for 2 hours alone outside and watched her classmates eat hotdogs and Popsicles and drink Gatorade and play games. I cried for a week straight knowing that my actions caused my daughter to be hurt but I finally realized it wasn’t me who was to blame. It was our rotten admins who are nothing but bullies!”

4) “That’s beyond disgraceful! Every school employee involved in that debacle should be immediately fired! Good teachers and admins would NEVER do that to a child.”

Final Comments

It has been 6 hours since I first read this mother’s frustration and heartache for her daughter. 

I’m still infuriated.

My blood is still boiling.

bully 5The sad part regarding this story out of Michigan is knowing other children are suffering the same treatment.  What is it about some schools treating children with dignity who opt out of the reptilian, invalid tests… and others who have educators acting like snakes?

Bull Snakes.

Bullies!

The little girl in this story is in 3rd grade. 3rd Grade! She is 8 or 9 years old.  She sat and watched her classmates making sundaes, eating them, smiling, happy and she was made to sit and watch.

And shamed.

“You’re a bad little girl.  You didn’t take the state test.  We’ll show you.”

Hmmmm… did this school offer an ice cream party to the children who turned in all of their homework for the year?  Did this school offer an ice cream party to the children showing growth in math or reading in their classroom work?  Did this school offer an ice cream party to children who wrote a story or a top notch book report?  Did this school offer ice cream sundaes to the children who attended school all year and worked hard?

No.

Hmmmm… for what reason, then, do the children in this school get an ice cream sundae party?

For taking a test.

A Test.

The other 179 days of school don’t matter.

The test does.

This is putrid.  Each time I read the story,  I can smell the rot.

The love affair the politicians and other powers that be have with this testing obsession… are directly responsible for creating venomous environments for our children.  It is sad how some educators, trained to inspire children, are becoming snakes themselves.

Bullying Snakes.

Take Action

Bully 4

Please write the superintendent of Saginaw Public Schools, and let her know this little girl deserves better.  I have included the contact information below:

Chester F. Miller Elementary School Facebook Page

Contact this school

2020 Brockway Street

Saginaw, MI 48602

Chester F. Miller Elementary School Website

Phone: (989) 399-4850

Fax: (989) 399-4855

Saginaw Public School Website

The Superintendent of Saginaw Public Schools:

Kelley A. Peatross, Ph.D.

She says:

“Know that we are committed to being ‘all in’ for our students and we hope that you are as well.”

Ali 2

Dear Dr. Peatross,

I’m “all in” for this little girl. I hope you make this right. This little girl deserves a sundae in your office and an apology to her family. I also hope you consider next steps for how principals in your school district are allowed to treat children. This principal publically bullied this little girl in front of her teacher and her peers. As an educator, I am appalled and ashamed by this behavior.

 Passionately Submitted,

RAZ ON FIRE

Join: OPT OUT OF THE STATE TEST: The National Movement