Parents have the right to opt their kids out of the PSSA damage

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Spring is just around the corner and for many school districts that means PSSA testing time. Most local parents will treat this period just like any other school day, kiss their kids before they hop on the bus and assume that all is well inside the school house. I am here to tell you it's not.

The "reformers" who think that just one test can really tell you how your child is doing in school would like us to think the test is benefiting our children. It's not.

For the past five months most classrooms have been devoid of intellectually stimulating classroom experiences. Our children have been forced to complete worksheet after worksheet in language arts and mathematics, while social studies and science classes have been shortened to allow more time for reading and math instruction. Five months of boredom and mindless routine. How much can they take before just the thought of going to school immobilizes our children? There is real damage being done to our kids because of these standardized tests. Something has to happen.

I'm here to tell you, in Pennsylvania, parents have the right to have their children exempted from the PSSAs. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, if you believe it is morally wrong to put your kids through the ordeal of a week of pointless testing, that's good enough. You don't have to say why. Your request cannot be challenged or denied by law.

I urge all parents to contact their schools and opt their children out of these mindless tests. The scores of these tests do not determine grades. They do not determine college acceptance. They don't even have to be used for AP or honors placement in high school. You can insist the school look at grades only. So why are we forcing our children to take them? Let's bring real education back to our schools in Pennsylvania. Let's stop the yearlong test prep that has supplanted real teaching and learning.


The writer is a teacher.



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