Testing. Testing. And more Testing. It seems it is all we do these days in public schools. But why?
We all know that excessive testing takes time away from teaching and learning. In addition, parents and teachers understand the social emotional toll and unnecessary pressure it is placing on our children. So what are WE, the adults, going to do about it? When are WE going to change the standardized testing craze that has replaced an authentic and engaged learning with mundane, rote memorization of facts that are irrelevant to a child’s life and understanding of his or her place in the world?
You may be thinking a number of things right now. How can I change this? I am only a… (insert applicable role including but not limited to teacher, parent, instructional assistant, employee support professional, community member, etc.)? You may also suspect that even if you did speak up, those who make laws wouldn’t listen. Stop that train of thought today-at this moment- because a learned sense of helplessness only serves the men and women in political positions who count on you to think that YOUR VOICE doesn’t matter.
Our children matter! And you know your child(ren)/students better than those who are not directly in their lives! They need us- the adults- to advocate and challenge our congressmen and women to eliminate excessive standardized testing, provide resources and flexibility to states/locals to meet children’s needs! YOUR VOICE MATTERS and needs to be LOUD!
Last night, I spent an hour listening to a tele town hall meeting led by the National Education Association (NEA). It was both informative and frustrating. Over 200,000 members of the NEA, have been engaged in writing, calling, and visiting their congressmen and women to express concern over the reauthorization of the ESEA or Elementary Secondary Education Act. My frustration: the NEA has over 3 million members, yet less than a third have engaged in this debate with the congressmen and women who have the power to change this law that has taken the joy of teaching and learning from our children. We need to mobilize and engage our colleagues, friends, parents, community members, and anyone who will listen.
Today the ESEA, also known as No Child Left Behind Act, has moved far from its original attempt to provide equal access to great public schools to all children. Instead we have a law that focuses on standardized testing and punishing teachers and schools by taking away resources instead of providing more resources to our neediest children. We have an opportunity in the next few weeks to refocus the attention on what children really need: time for learning, teachers who have autonomy to deliver instruction and assessment based on student needs, and resources to ensure all students regardless of their zip code have a 21st century school in which to thrive.
So are YOU ready to help lead this charge? I know you already feel enough is enough… but will you take the extra steps to ensure a better education system in America for ALL children?
Here is what you can do today. Visit Get ESEA Right! and use the simple system set up to put you in direct contact with YOUR political leaders via email. There are templates to use if you don’t know what to write. OR if you are passionate and have as story- SHARE it! Stories are the most powerful weapons in helping others understand the real impact and devastation of ESEA in its current form.
Second: If you would rather speak or leave a message for your political leader, use the Opportunity for ALL hotline # is 1-866-331-7233. They will connect you with your congressman or woman.
Last: You can receive updates and additional calls to action right on your phone. Text the word STUDENTS to 83224. As things move forward the next few weeks you will get up to the minute knowledge to feed your power to advocate!
Yes. I have called on YOU to take action TODAY! Lead. Share your stories. And finally, engage in this conversation with legislators, community members, parents, educators, and any one who cares about kids!. Our kids are relying on us to lead this charge and swell up support from every U.S. citizen who feels we need to change ESEA/NCLB!
You see, we -the adults are the missing link. Until we take action and advocate for the children we love and care for, then ESEA will continue to cripple educators ability to meet children’s needs and it will stifle the love of learning. Are you ready? Then take action today!