Today I wrote the following letter to my local newspaper for it's Letters to the Editor column. I don't know if it will be published, and if it is, if it will receive an answer from one of our local legislatures. Word on the street is that one legislator from my city made the comment that private schools are better because those parents are engaged and know what is going on. WHAT? As parents of students in the public school system we must change the perception that parents are unhappy with the schools or are not engaged. I am an engaged parent. My children, all students, teachers, and our schools need our voices to be heard.
High stakes testing must go! Our Oklahoma testing system must be re-evaluated and the tests given reduced. I support SB 708 which eliminates any test that is not federally mandated. This bill passed the Senate on 3/9/15.
As a mother of two children in the Broken Arrow Public School system it saddens me when my children tell me that their school year is over after Spring Break. It is over due to testing. My best learning times were after Spring Break. My teachers became creative with their "outdoor" learning experiences. So many things can be taught in Reading, Writing, Science, History and Math when you get out of the testing environment and into the world to apply those subjects.
Why is Oklahoma spending $17 million on state and federally mandated tests? Is it okay that our kids are being used as lab rats to "test" their equipment and test questions. Thankfully our new state superintendent put an end to a few field tests this year.
Is it okay that our third graders have had a growing anxiety since the time they hit the halls of their first grade classroom? An anxiety from a pass or fail test that could potentially make them retake their third grade year? My second grader is not only worried about her future but her teachers' as well. She feels the pressure because of constant assessments to prepare for these high stakes tests. Assessments and testing that take away the valuable time she needs to be learning!
My eighth grader recently completed his 8th grade writing test. It wasn't for HIS grade. He had to write from the perspective of a Cattle Hand. Yes testing companies, all Okies are cowboys so this should be an easy writing assignment. In less than a month he will be faced with another test, this one will determine whether or not he is eligible to get his drivers permit. Because driving requires you to read words like, but not limited to: STOP, SLOW, CONSTRUCTION AHEAD, and MPH. Weren’t many of these words taught while looking at street signs during the chauffeuring to activities?
Let our Oklahoma students be kids. Let their minds be free to explore possibilities outside the classroom. Let our teachers prepare them for the bright futures that each one have ahead of them. Let's not damper their spirits with continued tests that take away valuable instruction time. Put the resources spent on these tests into our schools vs a data file.
ShaRhonda Crow, Broken Arrow
Graduate of an Oklahoma Public School, Graduate of an Oklahoma State College, Mother of two children currently in the Oklahoma Public School System, PTA member, and Voter
What you can do:
- Be informed. I get most of my information from the Oklahoma PTA, you can follow them on Facebook. The bills are hard to understand sometimes. There are parents/advocates out there that dissect these bills and explain them to us.
- Email/Call/Tweet your Legislatures. Don't know who they are? Click here.
- Get involved. How involved are you in your child's education? I never in a million years thought I would have to be an advocate. Even if you never send a letter, your local schools need YOU!
Maybe Diogenes isn't specifically referring to our "state" when he made the above quote, but I believe he is definitely talking about the stability of our country and others being based on the education and experiences that is passed to future generations. Isn't our state a part of a great country? Doesn't the future depend on future generations?