Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Parents with their kids in tow flocked to Play Date PDX Sunday evening to learn how to opt their students out of high stakes standardized testing. The kid-friendly venue provided a pleasant atmosphere to share information about the worrisome test their children will be subjected to this year. In December of 2013 the Oregon Department of Education said the new tests are needed primarily because Oregon's current tests, known as OAKS, don't cover the skills schools must impart under the Common Core State Standards that Oregon mandated schools cover by 2014-15. But parents and teachers say not so fast. Members of Oregon Save Our Schools, headed by the Opt Out of High Stakes Testing Committee chaired by LuAnne DeMarco, organized the event to share information about the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium or SBAC (referred to as s-bac) and how parents may request that their children not be required to take the test. Quintessential primary teacher Emily Crum objects to the new tests for several reasons. In states where the SBAC has already been given, two-thirds of students failed. Similar results have already been projected for Oregon students. Too much time is spent preparing for tests that are developmentally inappropriate for children. The tests take away valuable teaching time and leave little time for kids to be kids. Emily asked families to create posters citing their reasons for opting out of the test. Elizabeth Thiel (left) gave testimony before the state legislature this past week explaining why she opposed the test as a teacher and a parent. Listen to Elizabeth's fabulous speech here. More than 90 people came to receive information and resources to support their decision to opt out. You can find that information and opt out forms here. Many parents are finding out more about the dark side of high stakes testing and are not willing to simply follow the order of the task masters who are not acting in the best interest of children. Read here why one mother and educator will be opting her children out of the SBAC. Oregon is not alone in questioning the efficacy of the new tests that supposedly align to the Common Core State Standards. Fair Test and United Opt Out are promoting resistance to the tests nationwide. Ultimately, the question becomes, "What kind of school experience do we want for our children?" Do we want schools with rich curriculum and exciting experiences, a place where teachers and children want to learn and work and play? Yes. We have the power to opt out of standardized testing!