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High stakes testing and what it is doing to our children

This is from a teacher in a closed FB group - a real account of what is happening in her classroom and from other accounts, in classrooms all across this country. If your child has a stomach ache or headaches every morning before school, or if he/she is acting out in ways you are unaccustomed to seeing- constant sadness, anger, frustration, regressive behavior...

Consider this...

High Stakes Literacy Assessment 
He looked at me with sadness and confusion. “I don’t know what to do, Mrs. H.,” he said with frustration that was bringing him to tears. “It says to read this but I don’t know these words.” And his head went down and he looked away. He couldn’t bear to look at the screen that glared at him with a passage of nearly twenty words. As I comforted him with encouragement to continue and do the best that he could, I knew he was defeated and I didn’t do anything to help him.

This is a kindergarten student who reads regularly in class. A student who writes complete sentences often with ending punctuation and capitalization. A student who can re-tell a story with explicit detail and accurate sequence of events. This six year old and his classmates have been tested for now the fifth time with our district’s literacy assessment and evaluation tool and it has succeeded in not only providing “data” on his growth in literacy and numeracy but it has taught him that he can’t count on his teacher to help him when he needed me the most.

I am ashamed of myself. Remember this is a six year old. This is a child saying, “I don’t understand. Help me.” Teaching and learning is about helping. It is about trust. What we are doing in the name of “accountability” and “data driven” education is harming our students. I’ve been aware of it for some time but I lived it today. I can't do this to my students. It is not who I am as a teacher or a person."

I belong to BATS (BadAss TeacherS) because I believe that Common Core and high stakes testing is creating a group of children that are being abused by the constant testing, they are not learning because Common Core was NOT created by education specialists (not a single one) and until we all speak up and opt out to stop the money flow to Pearson, Koch Bros, Walton and Gates Foundation this will not stop--it will get worse. The money needs to come back to the district to fund full time certified teachers not subs for Teach for America warm bodies. Our children deserve much better! If you are a teacher and need a voice--I can be that for you as I don't have to worry about my job. If you are a teacher or parent/grandparent/concerned person--there are groups on FB specifically for this-please consider joining. If you need help with opting out--I'm here and we also have a national group for that with all the letters, forms, what the options are and more. Cherie

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I think that there is no need to put our kids through these unnecessary test.
I talk about my kids well my kids are my grandkids and if they were my kids they would not set foot in a school ever till they wanted to go to college.

I have hated school since I was a kid, I didn't do well in school, I was bullied and made fun of and that was 40 years ago, my kids went to school my one daughter did very well and my youngest Brandy, she didn't and dropped out.
When I was younger I had no choice but to send my girls to school because I was a working single mom and had to (as most parents do ) relay on the school to keep my kids while I worked a full time job.

I keep my grandkids so I do the IEP's for them so I see what is going on in the school system today.
And I don't like it.
This will never change till parents are able to say what goes on in the teaching of their children.
We are told that we have no choice but to do what they say when it comes to all of these test.

Like I said I cannot make the choice to remove my kids .....aka my grandkids form the school system and teach them myself or I would.

I believe that in the future the test will stop and everyone will wonder why they were ever done in the first place.
I just hope it's soon, my youngest will starte school in 5 years,

Way to much emphasis is put on the FCAT, but how you handle it as a parent or teacher also affects how the kids feel about it. My foster daughter does pretty well in school and when we've talked about the FCAT which she took last week, I just told her to do her best like she would on every test but not to worry that she won't do well because she's a good student. We didn't treat it like anything especially out of the ordinary or a huge stressful event, so it didn't become one. This teacher could have just reassured her student and told him to try his best and that's all he needed to do; that he was doing a good job and didn't have to know every single word on the page. I think there should be some kind of standardized testing but it shouldn't determine a child's whole future.

Mine do well on the test now, but in the past my oldest granddaughter was almost at the point of a panic attack and that was because of the teachers treating the kids with....You better do good or else type thing. They had her scared to death. They are older now and do well on them. I just have had it with the whole school thing.
The bullies the dress codes the little things that think they are better than everyone else.....
But that's just me, if I had to do over my kids would stay home.

I agree with Kathy. And I would say the vast majority of teachers are doing just that. They aren't trying to stress kids out about the test because they know that doesn't help anything. Teachers aren't the problem. It's easy to blame them because they are the ones parents and caregivers come in contact with, but the VAST majority of teachers just want to educate and nurture children. They don't want to cause panic and they want to be able to teach.

Also I'm not sure opting out is the way to fix everything. It only puts pressure on the teachers and administrators and doesn't really change anything. Spend your time writing your legislators and working to change the standards if your problem is with the tests. I'm not sure the people who really control the tests even care if kids are opting out. 

The teachers are just doing what they are told to do. But I still feel to much pressure is put on students.
We took test when I went to school and I don't remember the teachers being so hard on us about a test.

My grandkids have come home sick because of it, they have gotten better now because they are older but when they were younger it made the sick to their stomach. And they would tell me stories and even the assistant principal told me that they had kids pass out because of it.

Maybe because the funding of the schools were done differently way back then when I was a kid so the test didn't determine what schools received and what they didn't.

Oh well, soon all of my kids will be done with it and maybe by the time they have kids the test will be gone. All I can do is hope.

The teachers and schools have no choice because it is what they are directed to do by the district. Opting out is at this point the only choice since the politicians are not listening to the people of Florida--it stops the money flow to Pearson,etc and when they stop making money off our kids then they will stop paying off the politicians. Today they voted on vouchers--again. In the fall the people of Florida voted NO on the expansion of vouches--so why is it that suddenly it is up again for vote in our state? Because the people who own the charter schools (Charter Schools USA, etc) and those who will profit from the expansion have forced it on the voting floor again to get what they want. If you have not been paying attention to what is going on --then you have no idea of how bad it truly is. The districts are replaced certified teachers (Duval is doing it this year) with TFA (Teach for America) --which means that warm bodies, who have a Bacherlors degree in something but not education but are given "6 weeks training" will be replacing veteran, certified teachers (who have an degree in education) this fall. WHY? Because they will do what they are told. Do they know how to teach your children? No they do not. Can they spot reading issues, learning disabilities and more? No, most of them don't even know how to manage a classroom much less control it. This happened in Chicago and all over the US--there is not a shortage of certified, trained teachers but they are pushing for more privatization and to remove  certified teachers because those people will not oppose constantly testing kids. They do what they are told where teachers who have been trained on how kids learn--will fight back until they are fired. Which is happening constantly too. You don't have to subject your kids to this--there is nothing in the law that states (thanks to Alabama's supreme court looking at it) that your children MUST take any high stakes test--nothing at all. The teachers are in a no win situation--it is time to stop it all. Let the teachers teach--they went to school to be experts on it. Not a single educator of any type wrote any part of Common Core (now called Florida Standards). Not one. Yes, Caraline those who are controlling the tests are fighting hard to keep every single kid taking them because they are making a ton of $$ off of them --everything from the test prep materials to the test to selling your family's data to whomever they please because when you say it is ok for your child to take those tests--you say it is ok for them to sell your family's data. I am a teacher--I am a part of a national group fighting to stop high stakes testing and return the control of education to the local area and parents. 

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