I had dinner with Maja Wilson a few weeks ago and was entirely floored by our conversation. Clearly, she is as sharp as they come… and a real student of educational history in the United States to boot.
And when she told me that as a parent, she “opted out” of having her kids bubble tested I became an instant fan of the idea.
Now Maja has her own reasons (and she can explain them quite well if you ask) but for me, when I see the stress that these bubble tests are causing, I mean… is anyone doing a study on anxiety disorders in 3rd graders because let me tell ya, there are kids whose health is literally suffering as a result of standardized testing.
People say we need the data but if the data isn’t indicative of the true picture it is attempting to portray – and a disservice is being done to kids and teachers and schools and principals all along this Bubble Mania journey – then what’s more American than standing up for that in which you believe and opting out?
We didn’t pay the tea tax; why are we so willing to pay the Bubble tax? (It’s because parents are in the dark, that’s why.)
Ya know, the public at large seems to actually think that if only we were all Erin Gruwell the U.S. Education system would be saved. Well, Erin Gruwell is still alive, she is still working – doing good work, in fact – but she hasn’t saved U.S. Education. And she didn’t teach during a time ofthe bubble tests either. How would the administration view her efforts now if she was “going off in her own direction” and “tossing aside what was mandated” in order to “really serve what she felt was to be in the best interests of her students”? They’d fire her. A non-tenured, bucking the system, thinks-she-knows-better-than-the-powers-that-be educator… well, they have a word for that now.
It’s called RIF notice.
Of course, if we start opting out en masse we are gonna start a war. But is this not a fight worth fighting perhaps? It’s not that I don’t believe in assessment; it’s that I do not believe in poor assessment and our current state of “gathering and evaluating data” is based upon a flawed system, one which is continuing on in an almost unchallenged manner and is clearly doing great harm… harm that is being willfully ignored by people with a bullying agenda.
Are we fans of a giant opt out?