testIt’s too much. It’s gone on too long.

My head hurts.

My heart hurts.

Stop telling me I’m wrong to refuse the current standardized tests for my son!
Stop saying I refuse because I don’t want my child to be uncomfortable, or I’m afraid he won’t get a good grade, or maybe he’ll feel bad. Stop making assumptions about my child’s pre-test performance – good or bad. Yes, I do believe my child is unique – I believe every child (every person) is unique. That has nothing to do with my testing decision. Stop belittling my choice!

I am not shallow in my decision. I did not take this lightly. This was not an easy one for me to make. I have struggled with this choice every year and it keeps getting harder. It’s not more difficult because I’m unsure of my beliefs about the testing – that hasn’t changed. I struggle because I believe in our teachers. I struggle because I believe in benchmarks for guidance. I struggle because I want my child challenged. But this – these tests – are not designed or administered in a way that is appropriate or helpful to anyone.

I grew up in the NYS public school system. I grew up the child of public school teacher (and later, administrator). The people I looked up to most as a child were public school teachers. My friends grew up to be public school teachers. It’s a part of my life. I believed in this system. I believe in the ability of our hired teachers to build a teaching system that works in their class for their students.  Every year that system might look a little different because the children are different – unique in their own ways. That faith in our teachers is being stripped away by the shackles lashed to them in this new system. I am now forced to watch as the schools that gave me a love of learning are attacked from the outside and divided from within. I am watching my public schools slowly die as their lifeblood – the teachers who hold our children in their care every day – are demeaned and strapped to programs that they don’t believe in. I am watching our children learn only struggle, disappointment and that being unique is wrong.

So, yes, I REFUSE.

This is the only way I know how to fight for the public school system that I believe in. It is the only way I know to support the many teachers who adapt curriculum for the personality of their classes. This is how I support my child who views the world, and every school lesson, a little different than anyone else. If we want our children to think ‘deeper’ – then why are we stunting their creativity with math solutions that must be done only one way or a writing structure that does not leave room for ideals bigger than the answer sheet?

Stop telling me I refuse for selfish, narrow reasons. Stop judging my choices and help me fight for our future.



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