Mom Starts War on Standardized Tests -- Hooray!

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testMy 7-year-old came home excited from school the other day. Apparently during standardized testing, her school is going to allow the kids to chew gum. Great. My kid is being bribed to take yet another test. Way to keep it classy, local elementary school! It's no wonder a mom in Pennsylvania behind a movement to pull your kids out of standardized testing is getting so many followers.

Did you even know you could yank your kid out of these tests?

You can ... at least in some states ... and when Kathy Newman found out Pennsylvania gives parents the chance to opt their kid out of the state's accountability tests, she didn't give the bureaucrats a chance to change their minds. She pulled her 9-year-old son out faster than you can say "multiple choice."

The way Newman told it, her son was bringing home dry non-fiction passages meant to prepare him for the state tests. What it was doing was sucking all the fun out of reading for her son.

It was destroying a love of learning. And she'd had enough.

Frankly, I have too. My daughter is 7. She is an excellent reader and a quick study. But tests stress her out. She told me last night that when she took her last "fluency" exam (a measure of how fluent kids are with their subtraction and addition facts), her hands were shaking.

That's over a dinky little math test that her teacher really needs to give to assess where the students are in terms of math skills.

More From The Stir: Stop Teaching My Kid to Hate School

Now they want me to add the stress of some standardized tests that really do nothing for her? That won't affect whether she advances to the next grade? That teach her diddly squat?

The No Child Left Behind act -- or as I tend to call it, the No Child Left Untested act -- has turned us into a nation that focuses on preparing kids for these tests, but at what cost?

Kids are being stressed out. Worse, they're being taught that they need to learn things not to slake the thirst for knowledge, but because "it might be on the test."

That's not what I want for my kid. I want her to want to learn because she's curious about the world around her. That's how you create a life-long learner. Not by bribing her with gum so she'll color in little gray circles for an hour.

I'm considering joining Kathy Newman's team myself ... how about you?

Would you opt your kids out of standardized testing? Can you?

 

Image via albertogp123/Flickr

education, elementary school, grades

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Amber Ortega

I serioulsy hate the standardized testing.  The kids are bribed with gum and mints and all kinds of crap that they normally are told not to eat.....the testing lasts for weeks and the kids come home drained and miserable.  The teachers spend WEEKS teaching to the test...not teaching what the kids should be learning, but teaching what will get good scores on the test....then instead of giving them say, granola and fruit to snack on we are giving them sweets and crap.  Gee, sounds like a great idea all the way around.  :/  

Coles... Coles_mom

I don't like the standardized testing either. My son is in 1st grade and they had theirs last Tuesday and Wednesday. Thankfully, tests don't rattle him too much, but I think the whole premise is foolish. He has two kids in his class that literally have an aide with them clarifying everything the teacher says. Good lord...no one had aides when I was in school.

Katy Khan

Your daughters hands were shaking? She sounds like a highly tense child to begin with. When I was a kid, a test was a test and we weren't taught to be scared of them or to disgregard them callously. If you don't want to know how well your child is learning, good for you but I certainly want to know.

nonmember avatar Kim

Just wait until your kids get older.. Tests are a part of life in the educational system, and in order to become a successful adult and attend college, your kids will more than likely have to take the SAT or ACT or some other standardized test. Sure no one likes to take them but you just have to deal with it. Pulling your kids out of a test is not going to help them in the long run at all, especially when they get into college because no one is holding their hands anymore and the majority of your grade is your test scores.

Histo... HistoryMamaX3

Just because you pull your child out during the tests, doesn't remove all the test hype and teaching to the tests that occur through out the rest of the year. Sadly, the way children are being taught is a major part of the problem... really good teacher's hands are tied to the system and there is so little they can do about it.


I pulled my kids out completely- the system isn't healthy and I wanted better for mine.

amber... amberdotsmom

Sorry but you guys have it all wrong - the kids get upset and don't deal with it well because the teachers make them that way.  They hype up the test not because it's important to the kids future but because it's important to their own future and a lot of them get the kids really worked up about it.  At least with SAT you take it voluntarily and you're older and better prepared.  But for this it's not looked at as "just" a test, the kids are taught to be scared of doing badly on them them and disregarding them doesn't mean I don't know how well my child is learning.........because that's not what these are designed for. 

nonmember avatar krelia

Growing up I was taught that tests were important, if I failed a test, it meant I didn't study enough and try my hardest. Which really, is how tests work. You either prepare yourself or don't; I realized that at a very very young age. There is so much hand-holding in today's society of children that they just aren't capable of handling such a simple thing as a standardized test, failure, or any type of negative reaction to education. We don't prepare the new generation of kids for the future.

Florence Blantz

Oh, for God's sake, won't someone think about the children! Seriously, though, if your kid's freaking out because of a test, don't blame the teacher.

nonmember avatar Mary

In SC, we have MAP, PASS, EOCs, AP, Exams, Midterms, and Benchmarks. EOCs/Exams/APS take up a month themselves.

Tracey Plummer

Are the exams strictly necessary? Maybe not, especially at this age, but what kind of message are you sending your child by pulling her out of a test that all of her classmates are taking? Instead of looking at it as preparation for when they are older and the same tests carry a lot more weight, you are telling her that she isn't expected to work as hard as the other kids, because you think the test is silly? These tests are a way of life in our school system, and they may not be fun, but they are necessary. When my daughter brings home assignments that I think are ridiculous, I'm certainly not going to share my opinion with her, I'm going to help her complete the assignment instead of undermining the teacher and the school. Maybe you should put on your big girl panties and help your daughter find ways to deal with it, i.e., tools to make the testing itself less stressful for her.

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