SKIPPING SCHOOL – ESPECIALLY DURING STATE TESTS

Bravo to Brooklyn (New York) mom, Bridget Reddan, who went on a mini vacation during her third grade daughter’s state tests. I have taught third grade, many times. She gets a 1 on her mom card from this retired NYC Assistant Principal.

The amount of time spent practicing for these standardized tests takes away from the real education of our children. Rather than reading, Beverly Cleary and discussing a whole novel while learning reading skills, students spend time reading short sections so they can identify a main idea.

Forget cutting down on recess. There is almost no instruction in Science for 3 months. This, despite the fact that science process skills and reading skills practically overlap, and despite the fact that the U.S. scores 17th internationally in Science and 14th in reading. (Scores from the Economic Cooperation and Development results from the Program for International Student Assessment of 15 year olds).

What can you learn on vacation? How to read; signs on the road, a map, a menu, a hotel sign and various attraction brochures. You could keep a journal, and any parent could make sure that paragraphs had a main idea.

I’m glad this parent decided against home schooling because I think tolerance and community are valuable lessons as well.

I feel sorry for the teacher because this child probably would have scored well. It shows the ridiculousness of evaluating teachers based on class standardized test results. If two more parents kept their children from taking the test as a protest, the class profile would definitely be skewed. In fact, test scores alone, or even as a major factor, are not a reliable indicator or a teacher’s ability.

So, go forth, Bridget. Convince more parents to boycott the tests. This parent is 100% in favor!

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