To The Editor:
Opting out of testing is like opting out of responsibility. As a mother, I want to know how my own kids are doing but, arguably more importantly, we all need to know how all kids are doing. In her opinion blog, Starr Sackstein explains why she opts her son out of state testing and why she, as a mother and a teacher, believes that other parents should do the same. (“Why I Opt My Son Out of State Testing,” April 12, 2018).
With all due respect to Sackstein, my experience as an educator and a mother tells me that she is dead wrong, and suffice it to say that I’m grateful that she is not the one making decisions for my kids or my former students. This year, for the first time, all three of my sons will take annual standardized assessments because the baby of the family is now in 3rd grade. And, unlike a small but vocal subset of anti-testing parents, I have not ever considered opting any of my children out of what I see as one of their many responsibilities as students.
Anxiety is often cited as the reason that parents opt their children out of tests, and Sackstein is no exception. But anxiety plagues students for lots of different reasons and often testing isn’t anywhere near the top of the list. Are we going to allow parents to opt out of swim tests, class presentations, and the study of slavery?
Tests are an inevitable part of life. If a parent doesn’t value the information that the tests provide about their children, lots of other people rely on it. I see it as my personal and social responsibilityas well as my children’s
A version of this article appeared in the May 02, 2018 edition of Education Week as Don’t Shun Tests