The growing focus on testing in New York’s schools is sickening students, bewildering parents and threatening to undermine public confidence in the state’s education system, speaker after speaker said Tuesday at a public hearing on the state’s “reform” agenda.Notice how the parents are up in arms over the constant testing, namely, the pre- and post- tests. --Something that we too often hear NYSUT affiliates such as the UFT going along with, merely seeing their role in aiding implementation. Looks like many of the unions are behind the times and the parents are ahead of them on this issue.
Jeanette Deutermann, a mother of two from Bellmore, said she had to take one son to the doctor last year because he was so stressed out by test preparation.
“I don’t care about the data; I don’t care about the statistics,” she said. “I care that I want my son to like to learn.
Deutermann, who started a Facebook page for parents on Long Island wanting to pull their children from state-directed tests, was addressing the state Senate’s Education Committee. The committee Tuesday held the first of four planned hearings on the state’s ongoing reforms: the Common Core learning standards; new teacher evaluations; tougher state tests; new student data systems; and more.
State Sen. John Flanagan, R-Long Island, chairman of the committee, said it was the first opportunity for the public to comment on the reforms. A few hundred people filled a small auditorium at Suffolk County Community College, cheering loudly as parents, teachers, senators and others questioned and ridiculed the state Education Department’s agenda.
Deutermann called on the seven senators in attendance to rein in the state’s reliance on testing.
“We are not going to allow our children to take part in this,” she said. “We need help.”
Marianne Adrian, a parent of three from Levittown, said that young students are affected when they take pre-tests that are really designed to show how little they know in September. Many students are taking such tests over the next few weeks.The article ends with quotes from Ken Wagner. Readers of this blog will recall that he --like NY state Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch-- attributes student's stress over tests as coming from their parents' reading anti-test material in the media.
“Once you break their confidence, it is really hard to build it up,” Adrian said.
For a poignant look at one family's travails with the alienating new curriculum, see this video and article spotlight on one family, "Culture of testing takes a toll on Staten Island pupils and their families," reported in the Staten Island Advance, March 28, 2013.
Postscript: Perdido Street School reports that Common Core has gotten such a bad reputation that many boosters now are counseling to skip mentioning the program directly by name, and has gone as far as to pay sports stars to shill for the controversial standards. As I've said, if the standards were so compelling, there would be no need to steer millions of dollars to a p.r./propaganda campaign for Common Core.
UPDATE: Deutermann (from this week's L.I. hearings) wrote a letter, published at Valerie Strauss' Answer Sheet column in the Washington Post, on the tests' toll on students' well-being. Note, also that she recognizes the high-stakes tests' detrimental impact on teachers' evaluations.