Today I’m A Dad

TodayI am taking off the educator hat and putting on my Dad hat.  Why?  Because my amazing 3rd grade daughter is currently at school and taking the 3rd grade reading test.  I don’t have a problem testing her reading skills, let us know how she is doing, what she can improve.  I have a problem with a one off snapshot test.  We hardly discussed this test at home except in passing.  Yesterday she asked if I would drive her to school.

ME:  Why do you want me to drive you tomorrow?  We usually do that on Friday?
Maer: I don’t want to miss the test.  They are starting it right at 9 and I can’t be late.  They won’t let me take it if I’m late.
ME:  The bus picks you up at 8:12 – why drive again?
Maer:  I have to be at school on time! (with a giggle)

She is nine.  Today I asked her how she felt, she said with a nervous smile that she was worried.  I asked why.  She said if she didn’t pass this test she couldn’t move on to fourth grade with her friends.  I encouraged here to show off what she knows.  We didn’t talk about this test much at home.  But she knows.  Just reliving this conversation I have knots and butterflies in my stomach.

The past few weeks have been devoid of any meaningful instruction at she has participated in “boot camp” for the state assessments.  I get this.  The teachers have been forced into a terrible position here.  The third grade musical was about doing well on the test.  It was well done – my kids music teacher works miracles – but isn’t there a more appropriate choice for third graders?

How did we get here?  This “reading” test is not even technically a reading test!  Claudia Swisher has the test specs for this year – read them here.  Why are we being forced into this?  And if I exempt her from taking the test, her school could be punished on the unreliable school report card formula (the school must test a very high percentage of students).  I am at a loss for words…..

My daughter does not have a voice that can be heard yet – I do.  THIS IS CRAZY!  WHY?  WHY ARE WE DOING THIS TO OUR CHILDREN?  WHAT IS THE POINT?  TO DRIVE THE LOVE OF LEARNING RIGHT OUT OF THERE SOULS?

I have another daughter in 2nd grade, I have to deal with this madness again next year.  I know that this is like yelling into the wind, who is going to hear?  What legislator is going to be brave enough to get rid of this terrible thing?  If our legislative leaders want to know how to best assess students reading ability, why were teachers left out of this conversation?  I am sure that there are different options for this…

I am so frustrated and helpless right now….

Maer

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