This week, a story was published in the Huffington Post. A mother has decided that her children would not take part in Pennsylvania's standardized testing. Michele Gray pulled her 9 year old and 11 year old from the testing process and instead chose to home school them for the duration of the test. Gray's objection? She says that the tests cause anxiety, do not accurately measure student knowledge and are used for punitive actions against schools. And I couldn't agree more. The fact that there are parents out there that recognize that really excites me. Gray was spurred to action after reading a blog post by another opponent to standardized tests.
Sometimes I wonder what would happen if we all said no. What if parents, as a combined force, all said no to testing? What would happen? Now, not everyone can take time off of work, or be off work in general, to home school their children for the duration of testing. But what would seriously happen if parents said that they refused to have their child tested? Would the test go on? Surely the state couldn't fail every single child if they all refused to take the test, right?
I asked the same thing about the audit. What if we barricaded the doors? What if we refused to be interviewed? What if we just said no? When I said this to my coworker, she said I sounded like one of my students. It's true though. I've had kids ask me what I'd do if all of the students in a classroom decided to refuse an assignment. I said I'd never had that happen and I doubt I ever would. The entire point of assignments is to help my kids learn. And whether they want to admit it or not, some of the little boogers actually like the assignments.
I don't know what would happen if we all said no. I don't think it's going to happen. I hope that one day the testing becomes less important. I hope that teachers are given more freedom in their classrooms to teach. I'm doing what I can to work for that change. I'm not a politician, but I've contacted some in the last few months. My only recourse now is this blog, where I exist as a semi-anonymous teacher writing for the greater good. Maybe it'll get better. I know the pendulum will swing the other way. It always does. I only hope that we've learned our lesson for the next time some brilliant person brings up testing as the best thing ever for education.