An Open Letter to the Oklahoma House of Representatives
Ladies and Gentlemen,
There are three senate bills that I would like to encourage you to add to your session before the deadline to do so passes. SB 708 eliminates any end of instruction exams that are not federally mandated. The amount of school time that is lost due to all of the tests the students are currently required to take is difficult to explain if you are not in the building. I know that the students spend a very small amount of time actually taking their EOI’s, but the entire building is impacted. For the last week of March and most of April the gyms are used to hold temporary computer labs. The computer labs are reserved for testing. Students miss classes because they are testing. It was not uncommon to have some students miss four days of class during one week. How can I teach students who I never make contact with?
SB 707 goes one step better in high school and replaces those EOI’s with one test – I am strongly in favor of this. Especially if this test is the ACT or SAT. I know that not every one of our high school graduates will go to college. That is fine, we are all different people with different goals in life. For those that intend to go on to college, we can help provide them a small step. Those not intending to go, may change their mind, and will already have their entrance exam completed. We can save money – which I know is very important to all of us, fiscal responsibility for all involved.
SB 785 keeps the teams in place to assess third grade students who fail the reading test. This bill will impact my family next year, as we will have a third grade daughter. I am worried because my daughter is a button clicker during tests. For her Accelerated Reader tests, she blazes through them at light speed. Not slowing down to really read the entire question. Sometimes, in the quest to earn her AR goal, she will just grab a book and take a test, never bothering to read it. At the beginning of the school year, when students are given the STAR test to measure skill, she has consistently scored very low. Once her teachers get to know her, they tell her to slow down. Take her time. They give the test to her again, they know she is capable.
One test on one day determining whether she can continue into 4th grade with her friends or be held back in third grade (now possibly in a class with her younger sister) would be a disaster for her. Her teachers recognize that she needs multiple opportunities and encouragement to slow down and do her best. Her teachers know her. She is capable, but I am already very worried.
My youngest daughter is in first grade, she is a math super star, but rushes through her reading and reading tests as well. I worry for her also.
My daughters are not test numbers. They are bright girls. They can play piano and read music. They ride bikes and tell stories. The have parts in the school play. They think of others – both of these young girls have donated hair to Locks of Love. They can code. They create the most wonderful art. They are enthralled by the smallest caterpillar. They are beautiful.
Please give strong consideration to adding these bills to your agenda before your deadline passes.
Teacher, Parent, Voter
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