Saturday, May 3, 2014

SAT-10 Tests and TCAPS. #StopCommonCore

I sent a copy of my opt out letter to my son's teacher, edited just for her. Then I took a copy to the principal. But after talking things over with my husband, we decided to let our son go and take the tests anyways. I still feel that he should have stayed home. I wouldn't have cared if he missed 5 days of school for the testing. He has only missed 5 days of school so far this year, so 5 more days wouldn't have mattered.

The schools have been making the testing nice for the kids. They have been giving them candy, letting them play outside for up to 2 hours or more a day, and more. I had a friend of mine's 3rd grader tell her mom that she would love to do testing everyday because it's so much fun!

But, my son came home from school yesterday in a strange mood, which is unusual for him. When I went to put his pajamas on last night, he fought me. So I had to grab his hand and take him to my bedroom where his pajamas were at. When I got him in my room, he sat down on the floor and cried and complained of not having snack time. He told me that him and his friends were really hungry and that they didn't get snack time. I told him that I was sorry that happened to him and his friends, and that I would talk to his teacher about it.

When I emailed his teacher and told him that, I found out that my son had been put into a different classroom with only a few of his friends and some other kids in the school that have a special needs IEP for the tests. So he was in a classroom with a teacher or person that he didn't know. He has major issues with change and he has OCD. So he likes routines, and when anyone changes that routine, it upsets him. When my son came back into the classroom, it was around 8:15am, and he was asked if he wanted to have his snacks or go to centers. My son decided to go do centers instead. So it was his own choice to skip his snacks. I don't think that he realized that he was hungry. Poor guy.

But to remedy him being upset last night, I told him that before he left for school this morning, that he could have his snacks after breakfast, and that worked really well and when he left, he was really happy. I made sure he still had snacks in his backpack too. But that extra sugar punch is probably what he needed yesterday after sitting and being quiet for so long, but he didn't realize it. I mean, when it's snack time, and testing, make the kids eat their snacks, period. Don't offer them to do something different!

So it's up to you, as a parent, and protector of your children. Do you send your kids to school to take these tests? I know that some kids aren't taking them for a few more weeks, or until June in some states. Some of the teachers some of them are being not so nice to the kids and telling them that they have to pass these tests in order to go onto the next grade, which IS NOT true! It can count for up to 20% of children's grades, which for some kids, is a drop in the bucket, and really not a big deal. But it can drop an A student down to a B student at report card time, and so on. So a child getting C's, D's, or F's, they might want to take the TCAPS. But know, that the SAT10 tests usually do not affect your children's grades at all! Just ask the principal, most of them will tell you the truth, if you just ask. I know it's scary, and that your afraid, don't be. Speak up, because if you don't speak up now, who else is going to? If you do speak up, and tell others about your experiences, you are helping to empower them and give them the much needed courage to do the same.

What if we all spoke up, and opted our children out of the SAT-10 tests and TCAPS? What if there were no children in schools on the testing days? Could you imagine the attention that we could draw to CCSS and to people in other states, like California, who have NO clue what they are about to get themselves and their children into?

The letter does work, as long as it's in writing, they should honor it. It's scary to do. Make sure you talk to your husband about it first. My husband stated that it's nice for the kids to have the practice when they are younger, so that when they do get to the TCAPS, they aren't anxious, and they know what to expect, and what is expected from them.

We, as parents, need to do what we feel is right for our children, even if it means standing up for what we believe and feel inside. But when you have a husband who doesn't feel the same way that you do, sometimes, it's not so easy. But I am breaking him down! Someday, I am hoping that he might see my side of things, and understand that not everything about the Common Core is so great, and that we need to help change it.

Is it ok for children to write notes like this in class? What if your child did so? What would you think? Would you tell her that it's only temporary? Would you opt her out? What would you do? This is how many of our children feel!

I also heard from a teacher, who said that "Other counties have opted out and were hoping that our county will catch on to how inappropriate it is to test 5 and 6 year olds for over 2 hours! Parents have to call and write state and county representatives because when we as teachers speak up, it's viewed as complaining."

She also thanked me for my blog posts about writing the letter to our schools and fighting the testing. It's not ok to test children like this, no matter how old they are. 5 and 6 year olds are too little to have to sit still for over 2 hours and answer question after question, half of the questions are about topics that they haven't even studied yet. Why in the world would you test a child in kindergarten about stuff he doesn't know about yet? I can tell you, in the two days that my son has taken the SAT10 tests, he seems changed. I know that it's not just me, something in him has changed. I hope that he doesn't lose his trust in me for not protecting him against this, because I told him that I would try to keep him from taking them, and because of his father, my husband, I failed to do so.

BUT, I will keep fighting, keep emailing, keep writing letters, keep sending letters to the district, principals, state and county reps, etc. We need to fight this for our teachers, but especially, for our children, YOUR children, and grandchildren.


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