Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Opting out of the Dinosaur (end of year test)

Today I sent in a second letter to refuse PARCC/CMAS for my son, Luke. The first email I sent at the beginning of the year was not sufficient as they required a "form" opt out letter which I refused to sign. Here is my letter. Mind you, opting out of the end of year test is opting out of the dinosaur. We are being inundated by daily online testing, social/emotional/behavioral testing, all which lead to algorithms to be used by artificial intelligence allowing the schools to replace teachers with tech - for more on this please read wrenchinthegears.com, datadisruptors.com, educationalchemy.comemilytalmage.com, and schoolsmatter.info. While opting out of the end of year test is important, it's a drop in the bucket. Until parents begin to refuse all corporate testing as well as tech, there is no end in sight to the privatization of public schools and the destruction of the teaching profession.

The letter:

March 5, 2018

Dear Principal ____,

Thank you so much for honoring our decision to opt Luke out of all the standardized tests this year. I am unable to sign the opt out request form you sent home as I do not believe that any of the tests listed provide teachers with any information valuable "in order to provide individualized instruction" - as stated in the letter.

I believe the tests simply standardize children, fail children and are used to shut down public schools. The tests create test takers, and the current state of our country needs much more than test takers if we have any hope whatsoever of regaining any semblance of a democracy.  

I absolutely put my trust in you, Mrs. _____, and all the teachers at _____ Elementary to know my son, and determine his strengths, attempts and next steps.  Luke absolutely loves school and is having a wonderful fifth grade year. As a teacher I never needed these tests - these tests simply got in the way of real learning, problem solving, and the development of smart, confident and passionate citizens. I also watched these tests get used in ways that destroyed a school's philosophy, and replaced it with a militant test driven ideology.

What is most unfortunate about the testing, is that we are simply going to have more testing. The end goal is daily online testing, already occurring in many public schools. In addition to that testing, the next new frontier is social/emotional/behavioral testing, thanks to a new provision in ESSA.  Children have become human capital and their data will be used to create immense profit.  Teachers, unfortunately, must waste easily a third of their year testing and teaching to the test; I saw this first hand in Denver.

I am opting Luke out of all the PARCC/CMAS tests. What makes this year of testing even more ridiculous is that Colorado is dropping the PARCC and most parents don't even know it. I will be sure to talk to Mrs. _____ to determine what days it might be better to keep Luke home for part of the day during testing.

Thank you for all that you do Principal _____. Thank you for welcoming Luke this year and helping him to feel a part of the community immediately.


Peggy Robertson 

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