Monday, April 29, 2013

Dear NYS Parents,

from Bianca Tanis @ The Chalk Face Knows Schools Matter –
Here is another terrific guest post from Bianca Tanis, Hudson Valley Parent and Educator.
An Open Letter to NYS Parents,
I’m sure that you have heard about some of the drama that is going down in public education and I’m sure that you have been overwhelmed by the mixed messages from teachers, reform groups, anti-reform groups, and the state. It’s a lot to process, and if you are like me, your brain is probably starting to turn off right about now. But I am going to ask you to stick with me for a few more minutes because there are some things that you need to know about the reality of your child’s education.
This month, students in grades 3-8 took the new NYS Math and ELA Exams. The state promised more rigor, and I suppose that they delivered on that promise. Over the past two weeks, your son or daughter was forced to sit for 9 hours of testing. And if he if or she required extra time, you can make that 13 to 18 hours. I would say that’s pretty rigorous. By the way, here is how the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines rigor: harsh inflexibility in opinion; the quality of being unyielding or inflexible; an act or instance of strictness; severity; or cruelty.
I would like you to ponder how sitting for a 90 minute to 3 hour testing session at the age of 10 affects your ability to maintain focus and answer questions to the best of your ability. As an adult who has voluntarily sat for the SAT, the GRE, and multiple licensing exams, I can attest to the fatigue and “brain drain” that sets in after about an hour. Also consider the fact that children are not allowed to eat or drink while taking the test, for fear that they may soil the testing protocol, and that for many children, testing cuts into lunchtime and specials.

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