Updated on March 9, 2015
The One Where We Opt Out…or Testing part 2
Number 1 is a very smart kid, like reading Harry Potter in first grade smart. For punishment, we take books away from him. He takes enrichment classes. He’s just smart. But he does not test well. Each year his standardized test scores have gone down. I believe it is because of the amount of stress that is placed on the kids now to perform on these tests. He has major anxiety about these tests. Perfectionism and test anxiety are “side effects” of giftedness.
Our state this year is doing the PARCC testing. Most everyone in our district, including the superintendent, are not happy with these tests. The amount of testing, the types of questions, the procedures, etc.; all of which are taking away from the teachers actually teaching!
We have a great school, with great teachers and great administrators, so I did not want to negatively impact them. However, after many discussions with principals, teachers, and other parents, I started giving serious thought to opting out. Husband is questioning whether this is a good idea or not, as he takes his anxiety meds. I laid awake sleepless and praying for three nights about what we should do. (I know, I can’t imagine where his anxiety comes from?!)
Then I started thinking about how I preach at my kids that they can be the change. I tell them with my words that we can make good things happen and to stand up for what we believe in. But it can be scary and it can be hard. Maybe me opting my one kid out of 600 in his school isn’t going to be the shot heard around the world, but it is one small voice. Maybe my one small voice, saying, “This isn’t right. This isn’t what is best for schools, teachers, and most importantly, our students.”
I also want my child(ren) to know that THEY are the most important thing to me/us. If he is going to lose sleep and feel sick and worry over a test, which by the way, has NO effect on his placement, grades, graduation, etc., then he shouldn’t have to do it. Yes, life is hard. Yes, we have to do things that absolutely suck sometimes. But this, this, we can say no to.
So, we opted out. He got a good night’s sleep with no worries about 10+ hours of testing this week. And maybe, just maybe, someone who makes these decisions about our schools, will hear this momma’s little voice saying, “Let’s be the change. Let’s put our kids first.”
If not, we at least got to sleep through testing!:)