Tue, May

Parents Know Best


LEARNING TO STAND UP-Today I came across a letter from a Tennessee parent that went viral.  The theme, quite simply, is: Parents know best. 

In it, this parent explains why she is opting her child out of state testing. Please click on the link at the end of the letter so that Alicia Maynard and other Tennessee parents know you support them in their determination to end the testing madness. -Diane Ravitch 

 “Where did we ever get the crazy idea that in order to make children do better, first we have to make them feel worse? Think of the last time you felt humiliated or treated unfairly. Did you feel like cooperating or doing better?” - Jane Nelsen, author of the Positive Discipline Series 

Dear Governor Haslam:

I am writing to let you know that my fourth-grader will not be taking the TCAP test. This is unfortunate for her school because she scores in the advanced range every time.

Auria is in fourth grade at Northfield elementary in Murfreesboro, TN. This is our fourth year at this school, and between her and her sister, I have fallen in love with numerous teachers there. 

Murfreesboro has the best school system in the state (according to Google), and I have been highly impressed with the people and their level of care for my children.

Third grade changed, though. My highly-intelligent, confident kid became a wreck - early in the year - over the pressure associated with the TCAP. I was confused, as I took the TCAP every year as a child and have nothing but fond memories of bubbling in the little circles. I started to notice the growing intensity leading up to the test, and I became a little disgusted. That was last year. This year it was worse. The teachers I have had the pleasure of working with are so wound up that I feel sorry for them. The teachers, the staff, the administration ... everybody.

These are obviously brilliant and creative people, and this test has taken over like a life-sucking monster. Teaching isn't an exact science, just like parenting. Every child is different, and this terrible system is stifling all the joy and creativity that is required to really make an impact. 

Now, if I love this school and staff so much, and I know her test scores would attribute to an average boost ($$$), why would I pull her from this?  She wants to be a teacher when she grows up. These teachers are already being grossly underpaid for such an important role.

 "Pearson is America's largest corporate maker of standardized testing. It has a multiyear contract with our Department of Education: For creating and implementing the TCAP and the end-of-course tests for high schoolers, we pay more than $150 million.  (That's three times what it would have cost to give Tennessee teachers a 2 percent raise.)  The deepest cut of all? Teachers aren't able to preview the test. They are neither editor nor author of the single most influential test of the whole year. It's the educational equivalent of a slap in the face." n - David Cook (Times Free Press) 

Auria can already make better decisions than this.

My child's job is to learn. The teacher's job is to teach. But my role as her parent is more complicated. I also have to teach her when standing up for something is necessary.  

This system is stupid and unfair. She will be accepting a 0 as 15% of her grade for the year. But she will also be standing up for teachers and students all over the state. She will be taking steps toward bettering her future right now, and I think that's better than just a memory of all those bubbles.

Thank you for your time reviewing this matter,

Alicia Maynard
Murfreesboro, TN


(You can support Alicia Maynard by clicking here.


(This letter was provided CityWatch by Diane Ravitch. It was posted first at TennesseeParents.com). 







Vol 12 Issue 37

Pub: May 6, 2014

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