Earlier today, I received two emails from parents. One sent me and the other sent me “With Test Week Here, Parents Consider the Option of Opting Out.” The other send me a link to “10-year-old: ‘I want to know why after vacation I have to take test after test after test.’” I have been resisting the urge to write my opinions on standardized testing because I felt like there wasn’t a point. I have been working with students on test prep for some time now, and of course I have my opinions. After reading these two articles, and clicking on every link possible to find information on families making the choice to opt out, I feel moved and ready to speak out.
I am a native New Yorker and former NYC teacher (and yes, I attended NYC Public Schools as a child!) Over the years I have taught at a private preschool, a public elementary school, and a charter middle school. I left the classroom in September for a variety of reasons. I guess I felt tired of disagreeing so much of the time. It is imperative that you understand that I left the classroom planning to remain in the field of education and make as big of an impact as possible on children and families.
I have been so moved by the “opt-out movement” and I want to help in whatever way I can. Sadly, I don’t know that I would have had the nerve to support the cause if I were still in the classroom. Being on the outside looking in has provided me with a new perspective and I feel responsible to do something about it.
I understand the risks involved with opting out so I am not trying to convince any parents to do so. It is a family’s choice. That being said, I am in awe of the parents who are making this brave and terrifying decision and I want to know who they are so that I can support them in any way possible. No one should feel alone in this. I am looking into organizing a learning event such as a read-a-thon or write-a-thon on a testing day for those families who have made the choice to opt out. It is important to send the right message to our kids, that although they may not be in school, and although we may be anti-too-much-testing, we are PRO-learning. If you are opting out, or you know anyone else who is opting out in the NY area, please let me know. We will be make a much stronger impact together. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.