Sunday, April 10, 2016

Reflections of a Third Grade Rebel on Opting Out and Justice

FROM A THIRD GRADE REBEL (NOTE: this was the title of her story) My family and I decided that for the NYS ELA 3rd grade test I would opt out. Instead of sitting in the all-purpose room for 3 hours, I stayed home until the test was over. When I arrived at school, on the way down to my classroom I was passing the classroom that some of the special needs kids are in and I heard someone crying, and someone screaming!!!!! I was sad to hear that they were crying and screaming. I felt so bad for them! About an hour went by and it was time for lunch. On the way down to the cafeteria I was thinking, “Was all of that crying and screaming about the stress of the state test?!?!?!?!?!?” When I sat down at my usual table with all of my friends I told my friend the whole story about the screaming and crying and that I thought that it was about the state test. My friend said,”I asked my mom if children with special needs have to take the state test too. My mom explained that yes they do have to take the same test as us. Isn’t that so so sad!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?” I was shocked. This is my friend of course, that was opting out too, like me. When lunch was over we went to the classroom and did a little math. Then it was time to go home. We packed up our backpacks and my mom picked me up from school. I asked her if the special needs kids had to take the same test that all of my classmates did and she said, “Yes. And that is ONE of the MANY reasons why we opt out. Because although you are not a child with special needs, our family believes that this test is not fair and not appropriate for kids who get stressed out on tests or have special needs. School is a place where kids should feel safe. This test makes kids feel unsafe and scared in school.” So, in this case, that is one of the reasons why my family chooses to opt me out out of the New York State Test. After what I saw today in school I am so thankful that my family opted me out. No kid should ever be made to scream and cry in school. All parents should listen to this story and understand that even a third grader has figured out why kids shouldn’t take this test. The test is not ok for kids. My teacher never gives us any test or work that makes kids scream or cry. And the state shouldn’t either. Until the state fixes it, all families should do what mine did. OPT OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!