Refuse the New York State standardized tests grades 3-8

Onteora PTA speaks about High Stakes Testing

The Bennett School PTA in the Onteora school district is speaking up about High Stakes Testing.

The Bennett PTA is hosting a forum “Reclaiming Public Education in New York State” to help parents learn more about high stakes testing and the impact on our schools.

Reclaiming Public Education Bennett PTA

The forum is being held on Wednesday February 11, 2015 6:30pm at Bennett Intermediate School and members of surrounding school districts are invited to attend.

The Bennett PTA also spoke out about state testing in a letter to the editor in the Daily Freeman last week. The Bennett School PTA is encouraging their parent body to refuse the state tests in ELA, math and science this spring.

Dear Editor:

There is growing frustration with the amount of testing our young children are subjected to. I have noticed a significant loss of instruction time, an increased level of stress in the classroom and a poor message to our children about the importance of tests.

The average fourth-grade student is 9 years old and is required by the state Department of Education to prepare for three state exams in the spring: English Language Arts, math and science. These tests total eight days of administration, as well as three to six weeks of test preparation. In total, our children are losing four to six weeks of in-class instruction time per test.

Our children also take ELA and math tests three times a year to monitor their progress. They also take pre- and post-assessment tests in art, music, library, physical education and social studies, totaling 21 standardized tests annually. The numbers are the same for grades three to six, with the exception of the state science test.

It is no wonder we are seeing a loss of hands-on, inquiry-based learning in our classrooms. With the emphasis on math and ELA testing, we are witnessing the erosion of science and social studies from the curriculum.

Excessive testing teaches our children that there is only one right answer in academics and in life. It takes the joy out of learning and minimizes the value and importance of taking a test when it really counts. And it is ruining public education.

As an immediate solution, members of the Bennett School PTA are encouraging our parent body in grades three to six to refuse the state tests in ELA, math and science this spring. These tests are inappropriate for our children, are unfair to our teachers, take away valuable classroom time and are not part of our child’s overall grade or individual assessment.

We intend to send a message to the state.

Heather Roberts, Vice President

Bennett School PTA

Shandaken, N.Y.