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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