Opting out of PSSAs might teach the wrong lesson

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I am writing in regard to the article "Parents Increasingly Wary of State Exams" (April 4). I am an educator and although I have never administered the PSSAs, I have a fourth-grader preparing to take them for the second year in a row. I will admit there is a lot of pressure on teachers, administrators and districts for their students to do well and, yes, instructional time has been modified to prepare for the test.

Am I happy about that? Do I feel that educators and districts should be judged on it? No. However, there will always be some type of standardized testing; it is a reality. How will we measure how our children are learning compared to peers and the rest of the country? While there are state standards to be attained, curriculum varies from district to district.

In response to Kathy M. Newman ("I Won't Let My Son Take the PSSA," March 31 Forum), while I respect her right to make decisions for the well-being of her child, she could not be more wrong. Will we shelter our children from anything hard or stressful for the rest of their lives? How about a job interview or a college application? What happens if they don't make a sports team? Are we really teaching them to compete globally and deal with life? To cite religious reasons for not taking the test is quite disrespectful and absurd to any religion! Ms. Newman cited civil disobedience as her reason not to let her son take the tests; what that is really teaching is that rules don't apply to you and you don't have to do anything you don't want.

It is up to us as parents to teach our children these tests are just a measure of what they are learning and just do your best. I could not be more proud of my daughter's school and teachers. Before you "opt your child out" of taking these tests, think what values you are really teaching them.

BETH CASWELL
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