Target: Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York
Goal: Fight against standardized testing
All across the country, there has been backlash against standardized testing. These tests have good intentions — they are meant to level the playing field, so that theoretically, all students are getting access to the same education. However, that usually does not end up happening. Teachers are forced to teach to the test, rather than cultivate a love of learning in their students. They teach surface information, rather than true understanding.
Many parents, teachers and principles have resisted these standardized tests. New York state is a prime example of this backlash. The state just adopted the Common Core Principles, and spent a minimum of $32 million creating these tests. However, the tests ended up being confusing, with long, wordy questions and a disgusting amount of product placement. Many educators agreed that the questions were inappropriately difficult. Teachers agreed that even they would have trouble answering some of the questions, so it is ridiculous to give that same test to students as young as nine.
Another large issue with these tests is that parents can opt their children out. However, the only parents who are aware that one can opt out are parents who have time to go to PTA meetings, and have time to make an informed decision on this matter. These parents are usually affluent and from richer neighborhoods, and statistically, their students are not the main victims of these tests. Poorer schools usually do worse, for a myriad of reasons outside of the teacher’s control, and then the teachers are punished. It is a broken system.
Therefore, we are asking New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to revaluate what these tests are supposed to mean. They should not reflect the already present income gap. They should not be confusing, nor should they be advertising. Teachers should have better input on what goes into the tests, and should test for understanding, not just for memorization. Standardized tests are fine, but need to be changed. We encourage Governor Cuomo to consider all of this.
Dear Governor Cuomo,
Today, we are writing to stand with adults who are against standardized testing in New York. While in theory, standardized testing makes sense as a way to level the playing field, and give all students access to the same level of education, the system is broken.
The test itself does not make any sense. It tests the ability to memorize, rather than the ability to deeply understand information. Beyond that, it does not help with the social inequality that children have, but rather, inflames the problem. We want you to change the standardized testing, because there is potential to alleviate those problems.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jack Markwell via Core Standards