SBAC testing season is, once again, taking shape across Connecticut. Rather than focus on lessons and learning, Connecticut’s public schools will be wasting massive amounts of time and resources on the unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) test. It is a scheme that not only wastes time and money but damages education by artificially labeling and judging children, teachers and public schools.
The responsible course of action it to refuse to allow your children to be used by the corporate education reform industry and those that are committed to their destructive strategies.
Opt your students out by telling your school that your child will not be taking the Common Core SBAC test this year.
Change the Stakes, a New York based pro-public education advocacy group, provides Eight Reasons to Opt Out of SBAC testing. Change the Stakes explains;
- When students, teachers and schools are rewarded for high test scores and punished for low ones, the tests themselves become the focus of education. Class time is devoted to test prep, which robs children of their natural desire to learn.
- The state exams test only two subjects: English and math. That encourages schools to give less time to social studies, music, art, world languages, physical education, and even science.
- High-stakes testing undermines important learning. In its 2011 report to Congress, the National Academy of Sciences reviewed America’s test-based accountability systems and concluded, “There are little to no positive effects of these systems overall on student learning and educational progress.”
- State exams are loaded with poorly written, ambiguous questions. For example, a statement signed by 545 New York State Principals noted that many teachers and principals could not agree on the correct answers.
- While states are paying private test contractors millions of dollars, our public schools do not have the resources they need to ensure every child gets a quality education. This is part of a national trend: states cut funding to public schools while pouring millions into new computer systems designed for Common Core tests.
- High-stakes tests don’t help students learn or teachers teach. The results come too late for that. The tests are largely punitive: they punish teachers, students, and schools that don’t perform. Low test scores can be used to hold good students back and rate strong teachers as “ineffective” despite high ratings by their principals.
- High-stakes testing undermines teacher collaboration. The teacher evaluation system is undermining teamwork and cooperatives activities between teachers.
- One-size-fits-all tests punish and discourage students who are already vulnerable, including students of color, English-Language Learners, children with special needs, and students from families living in poverty.
Change the Stakes adds:
We strongly reject the way high-stakes standardized tests are hurting our children and denying them high-quality teaching in a healthy atmosphere that fosters the full development of their capabilities.
The Department of Education and the State Education Department have made testing a substitute for education. Testing has come to dominate school activity, dimming children’s natural enthusiasm for learning. It has made 8-year olds anxious about what could happen if they don’t do well on the tests.
So much time is spent preparing students to take the annual statewide exams, field tests and an endless number of other tests that history, music, art and gym have been squeezed out of the school day.
Testing has been used to bully teachers, turning them into drill instructors who must follow stifling classroom routines to generate high test scores. It has made teachers fear for their jobs, knowing they will be rated ineffective if their students don’t do well on unreliable exams. It has made them compete against each other in an effort to survive, rather than work cooperatively.
And it has forced principals to intensify pressure to produce good-looking results, no matter what, because they are being threatened with the reorganization or possible closure of their schools if they fail to do so.
These different forms of punishment inflicted upon the public school system by high stakes testing have been called accountability. The end result has been to create hundreds and hundreds of elementary and middle schools in which disruption and instability are the norm.
Students, teachers and principals are held accountable, but the low quality of the tests themselves is never accounted for.
Still there is another equally troubling and unacceptable aspect of all the testing. As more and more testing has been piled on every child—parents have been left out of the discussion.
We are offended by the lack of respect shown to parents who have been kept in the dark by the federal and state officials about all the testing that is taking place and we demand immediate and specific answers to basic questions. We are entitled to a complete test inventory—a matter of accountability on the part of the city and state officials responsible for approving, organizing and implementing the various testing programs.
Connecticut parents, now is the time to stand up for our children, their teachers and our public schools.
Like tens of thousands of parents are doing in New York State, opt your children out of the Common Core testing frenzy.
Begin by writing to your child’s teacher and principal telling them that your child is not to participate in the SBAC test.
And remember, there is no federal or state law, regulation or policy that prevents an individual parent from refusing to have their child participate in the annual testing program.
The law requires schools to conduct the tests, it does not prevent parents from opting their children out of them.