We want to thank former parents, Takiema Bunche Smith and Amy Plattsmier for joining us yesterday at our third to fifth grade parent meeting on assessment and standardized testing. Malika gave an overview of the on-the-ground math & reading assessment tools that we use, while Diane presented a brief history of standardized testing. This was followed with Takiema and Amy reflecting on the impact of the Opt Out Movement on their own children’s participation in standardized tests.
Takiema recalled her initial confusion when a parent spoke about her decision to opt her child out and how as she listened to parents and teachers, she began to question the purpose of standardized tests. Takiema spoke about the tests taking away resources, especially from the students who needed them the most, “And who is impacted the worst, those who have the historically excluded identities, right, so children with special needs, children whose language is not first English, children who are Black and BIPOC.” Takiema stressed the racism inherent within the testing industry, adding, “It is not just about how to be an anti-racist, how to be anti-racist is to not participate in racist systems and policies.”
Both Takiema and Amy talked about how their children managed in middle and high school, pointing out that they were able to navigate their learning, whatever school they were in. Amy told the audience that her older daughter, a student at LaGuardia, had been accepted to almost every college she applied to without submitting a SAT score. She also mentioned her younger daughter, a student who tested into Brooklyn Tech High School without ever having done a standardized test.
A new generation of parents no longer has to weigh whether or not to opt out of the state tests as this year, participation in the testing regiment requires an opt in letter, which is due today. It seems to have taken a pandemic to change the power of the testing system. Even Success Academy, a charter school known for its high test scores, has decided not to participate in the state exams this year.
We will now have had two years of schooling without test prep being the primary focus of education. This may in fact be a benefit of our year long struggle with the impact of COVID. As we look at our children, let’s worry not so much as to how well they can bubble, but rather let’s notice their resiliency and flexibility as they confront the world in which they live.
Here is a recording of the meeting in case you missed it: Testing and Assessment Meeting 4.12.21
All for now,
Anna, Diane & Malika
Please check Konstella for Zoom links:
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