Two highly qualified first grade teachers write a letter to their 1st grade parents about their reasons for NOT administering the high stakes tests in their classrooms. They break down the number of hours they are required to test. They also write of real stories of their students sitting in front of a computer at 6 and 7 years old and the impact the test had upon them. It breaks my heart. (Read the letter here.)
A growing number of teachers are beginning to speak up.
The SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment) is being administered this Spring. Did you know if students do not score well enough on this assessment, Washington State will be considering a bill in which any third grader scoring below basic will not be allowed to move to 4th grade?
Ask yourself: Is a one day test in reading or math the best measure to determine if a child is proficient enough to move to 4th grade?
Parents in other states have started to speak out as well as many quality teachers. I, like the teachers who wrote these letters and took the time to speak to their qualifications, will do the same. I am a National Board Certified Teacher. One of the first 60 teachers to accomplish this in Washington State. I have been honored with the National Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics, the National Christa McAuliffe Award, and the United States Innovative Teaching Award. I have a Bachelor’s in Education and am endorsed in Elementary Education, Psychology, Special Education, and Mathematics from Whitworth University. I have a Masters Degree in Teaching with an emphasis in Mathematics from Gonzaga University. I am now in my 25th year as an educator in WA state schools. I, too, have had exemplary evaluations from several principals from several different school districts.
I have subtly been posting articles to help friends, parents, and fellow educators understand what is happening throughout our country in regards to the Common Core Standards and the new Common Core Assessments. I, like these two 1st grade teachers, stand with them in questioning many mandated initiatives that have trickled into our classrooms robbing teachers of teaching time and eliminating creativity as well as research based best practices.
I love teaching. I love every student I’ve taught and touched. Just like these two teachers, I believe in being accountable, however, we need to examine the types of accountability and whether the measures are valid and reliable. The Smarter Balance Assessment was written by Pearson, a London Based Company. Teachers have not seen the questions or been able to give any input on their developmental appropriateness. Teachers were not part of writing the Common Core Standards either. I remember the WASL (Washington Assessment of Student Learning, 1997-2009) in which a committee of teachers, of which I was a part, reviewed every test item our students would face. A large number of teachers across the state were a part of writing the essential learnings (standards) of the time too. The WASL was built from the ground up IN Washington State and became Nationally recognized for its quality. It definitely wasn’t perfect, but it involved many WA teachers and at least our educational community had a voice. At the time, our College SAT scores were on the rise too.
I, like these two teachers, and many others who are standing up across our nation, say, “Our students/children deserve better.”
I may be standing alone, but I don’t think I am. Many teachers fear speaking out…. I may be a lone voice crying in the night, and my hope is it will make a difference.
With the upmost respect to the countless teachers I ♡.