How do you feel about STAAR testing? Do your kids get stressed to the max when testing time rolls around? Do you agree with the rigors that children have to go through in order to perform on these tests? One concerned mama took the time to write a letter to Senator Kirk Watson in which she shares her concerns about the pressure on our children and our teachers.
First off, thank you for your service to your constituents and to this state. I am so proud that you represent me and my interests in the Texas State Senate.
I write this evening because I am at my wits’ end regarding STAAR testing. My child is 8 years old and in third grade. This is our first year experiencing STAAR exams. To date, since the beginning of the school year, the third graders at school have had to sit for three benchmark exams and a practice STAAR. They will take the “real” STAAR in three weeks. His teacher, who is otherwise a creative and progressive pedagogue, has basically been pressured to drill kids on the STAAR in place of actual instruction.
I fail to understand why the STAAR exam is so central to Texas children’s “education” these days. I fail to understand why children are under so much pressure to perform well on these tests. As an educator, I understand that tests only measure one dimension of knowledge, and knowing how to pass a standardized test does not prepare students for life in the real world. It seems as though we have created a culture of testing that deprives children of the opportunity to think critically about the world around them. A test can only sample knowledge, and it doesn’t reflect the incidental knowledge that is transmitted in the classroom and may actually be more directly applicable to life.
There is knowledge imparted by a good teacher that goes far beyond the textbook or lesson plan. That knowledge is lost and devalued by a standardized test. What’s more, teachers are leaving the profession because they are not being called upon to teach. Rather, they are being called upon to produce numbers that guarantee desperately needed funding and do little to enrich society — but go far in generating revenues for Pearson.
I call on you, Senator Watson, to help the parents of this state in their demand for better, ACTUAL education for our children. Please help us make LEARNING central for our children, rather than testing.
Thank you for your time,
A concerned parent
If you feel just as passionate about the STAAR test, here are a few suggestions on things that you can do to take a stand:
- Send your senator a letter- You can find out who represents you here.
- Attend the Senate Education Committee Hearing on April 14, 2014
- Contact your local superintendent
- Get involved in the PTA