Sunday, March 27, 2011

Another mother's experience

On our Facebook group, a mom asked about negative repercussions for children who don't take the test. She was worried about these kids being ostracized by their fellow classmates and punished by their teachers. Another mother responded:

Tricia, Luke did not experience any repercussions from his fellow students or his teachers it was quite the contrary.
As you know, the teacher’s hands are tied and they are professionals so they would not react either way regardless. As for our school, I can assure you that the teachers are treating Luke just like any other student, with respect, kindness and compassion.
But if you look at the research you will find that there is virtually no way a teacher could support such an atrocity to our children. I see the teacher’s hearts break when PSSA’s come around and they get the question, “Why do we have to take this test?”, and the teacher can truly not find any good answer. None.
What you need to understand is that there is not one thing about the PSSA test that benefits the students, teachers, administrators or the school. It does not affect a students grade, placement or graduation. It does not prove a teacher’s worth or teaching ability whatsoever. It does not bring money to the school as the cost of the tests plus the cost to have them scored (which by the way is not scored by TEACHER’S) is equal to the money the school is rewarded and in some cases less than the reward amount itself!!
As for the students, at first it was shocking to them that you could say no to a test – hard to believe – they wanted to know if it was really true - they started to think that would mean you would be held back a year if you didn’t take the PSSA. Luke has been a part of this decision and clearly understands the goal of the PSSA. Luke & I tell the students that he is boycotting because we support public schools and to “google” that. There is NO benefit for anyone other than the people who push to close the public schools.
We were nervous and not sure how the students would handle the boycott but we had to stand up in support of our teachers and public schools. To our surprise, the kids lifted him up, started asking questions, wanted to know more, are proud of him and want to be as “lucky” as him. They want answers!
Kids are not given enough credit when it comes to making decisions. They want to be informed and they are starting to talk to their parents. They want to “opt out” too. Not because it would be cool but because they feel duped and ignored. The feeling is that the students don’t get why someone would make a test that is not helpful. They are hurt by what they are finding out and want to stand up next to Luke. So they may not completely understand it (Tim has researched it for 3 years, it’s hard to understand) but they certainly can tell when they are being used.

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