Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Standardized Tests Making you Fried (in a BAD way)?


If Standardized Testing is frying you (or your children), and you live in Texas, now is the time to SPEAK UP to your Texas legislators. In this article, I'm hoping to provide everything you need to contact your legislators and tell them that reducing the high school EOCs (end of course exams) from 15 to 5 is NOT ENOUGH. They are NOT FINISHED with testing reform this year if they want us to re-elect them.

This first week of STAAR testing, I've heard firsthand accounts of each of the following:

  • elementary school children physically ill because of worry over the STAAR test.
  • students threatened "you pass this test" (that we don't know the content of and no one has ever seen before and we don't know when we'll get back) "or you FAIL 5th grade"! (Not exactly true, but a scary threat!
  • parents attempting to "opt out" only to be informed their students cannot move on to the next grade unless they take the make-up tests either this month or in the summer, leaving no way out for parents or children.
  • teachers saying, "I know they learned it, but I have no idea if it will show on THE TEST."
  • teachers saying, "I really want my students to be able to do creative work, but my administrators think these worksheets will help more with THE TEST."
and SO MANY OTHER disturbing reports that violate and usurp the educational process. Please, Texans, please contact your representatives now while they are in session. Keeping your kids home is not enough . . . inevitably, unless the laws change, they WILL be subjected to the tests.

According to this article published today in the Texas Tribune, "Elementary and middle school students currently take a total of 17 state exams before high school. They are tested each year in grades three through eight in reading and math, plus there are additional exams in science or writing or social studies, depending on the grade." Can any reasonable person argue this is necessary, logical, or helpful? I can't find one.

Here is a template letter you can use to contact your representatives. Use this link to get your representatives' contact information. Save a copy of the letter and replace the red highlighted text with your own verbiage. Remember, emails are easily ignored, phone calls are GREAT, and written letters sent via snail mail make a mess in the office and are much harder to ignore. Send snail mail and call. My friend in the know just told me that PHONE CALLS are the best becaue each one has to be logged and recorded, even if you call 50 times. When you call, you can say,

"Hi, this is (your name) calling from (your town), and I want to encourage (name of representative) to sharply decrease or end high-stakes, one-shot standardized testing in Texas for elementary, middle, and junior high school students, and I want (him/her) to know that unless (he/she) votes to do so when the issue arises this year, I will not be voting for (him/her) again. 

Here are some templates of a letter you can use to contact your representatives:

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