Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Testing, Testing and more Testing. It's Time to Fight the Tests. #OklaEd
If I don't do well our school gets a bad grade.
If I don't pass I don't get to move on to 4th grade.
Am I going to graduate from high school?
My children are in 1st grade and 7th Grade. My first grader isn't exposed yet to state testing, but she is assessed as part of the Reading Sufficiency Act (RSA)- the very one that will retain 3rd graders this year if they do not pass.
My 7th grader will be taking the Oklahoma Core Curriculum Test (OCCT) somewhere between the dates of April 10-22 (I received the email this morning asking for test volunteers for his school site, anyone?). He will be tested in Math, Reading and Geography.
After all the state mandated tests are completed our schools will once again be "testing". I use quotations here because this testing isn't real. Our students will be testing future used test equipment and test questions. This is flawed on so many levels. The students know its not real, so they aren't going to try. The students are essentially FREE labor. Our Oklahoma State Department of Education is so worried about instructional time, but yet these students are being randomly selected out of their classrooms to take these mock tests that do not mean anything.
My 7th grader did one of these Field Tests last Fall. The equipment didn't work, he was counted absent in the class he was supposed to have been in and had to go to the office to get a slip. This is unacceptable. He will be OPTED OUT of any future Field Testing. It is my right as a parent to see that this happens. It is every parents right.
Opting out of the OCCT is not an option at this point. It can have huge repercussions to our school districts. What we must do as parents is contact our legislatures. SB 1654 will eliminate all test not mandated by Federal law. Only two tests are mandated: English and Math.
As parents, we must be informed, Broken Arrow has formed a Parent Advocacy Task Force, attend these meetings. I attended last night's meeting with Broken Arrow's District testing coordinators, RSA (Reading Sufficiency Act) Director, Elementary Instructional Specialists, and the Executive Director of Elementary Education as guest speakers. Also, special guest speaker Principal of Jenks Middle School, Rob Miller- who writes the blog A View From the Edge.
I never thought that I would have to become so involved in my children's education. I just thought volunteering as home room mom, being artsy craftsy at parties, and helping with homework would be enough. It's not. I am beginning my journey for the advocacy of students in our great state. I have much to learn. Much to invest. We must fight the tests, Oklahoma.