Wednesday, April 30, 2014

As NY's Math Tests Begin- Let Us Honor the Test Resistors

Today, another awful round of testing begins in NY State, this time for Math. Our third graders face three days of testing that are more time consuming than the tests applicants take for Medical School, Business School, Law School or admission to college. How our education policy makers and elected officials signed off on this is a mystery to me. Even if the tests were well designed, which they are not, even if they were NOT used to rate teachers, which they are, tests of that length, for children of that age, represent a form of child abuse.
How do policy makers justify this? They say intensive testing is necessary to restore our once leading position in the Global Economy and to reduce Poverty and Inequality? If that were the case, why don't their own children, who are overwhelmingly enrolled in private school, have to take the tests? Why is this brutal regimen only for Other People's Children.
What we have here, if you look at it coldly and clinically, is a strategy that reinforces a two tier society- freedom and self-expression for the children of the Elite; discipline and rote learning for Everyone Else.
That is why the Test Resisters and the Opting Out Families are this nation's True Heroes. They are fighting to end a policy that will make Inequality in education permanent, and bring the promise of democracy and creative learning back to the nation's public schools. Let us give them our full support, and fiercely respond to any attempt to intimidate them and denigrate their actions.
Test Resisters are in the spirit of the Abolitionists, the Heroes of the American Revolution, of Fighters for Women's Suffrage, of those who built our great Trade Unions in the Great Depression, and the Civil Rights Protestors of the 1950's and 1960's.
And they will be recognized as such when, with all of our help, this Testing Nightmare has passed.