A Plea From a Teacher

Dear Texas State Legislators, Governor Perry, SBEC members and TEA officials,

My name is Mary Beth Lee, and I’m an 18-year public education veteran. From the time I was 15, I’ve never wanted to do anything but teach. I love teaching. I love to watch my students engaged in real learning, in problem solving, in learning the tricks to time management. I love watching the light bulb moment when they “get” a new concept. I love how they’ll try and try and try something, failing miserably time and again, until they get it right.

I love the excitement of a job well done and presenting lessons and integrating technology into my classroom. I love the idea of collaborating with fellow educators to make my school the best it can be and providing life-long learning opportunities inside and outside the classroom for my students.

But I’m not writing this letter as a form of praise for a job well-done.

I’m writing because I’m furious. I’m furious at the expense of tests, and I don’t just mean dollars and cents. I spent an hour watching a slide show on how to give a test this week. How to create a seating chart, how to show time, how to actively monitor a classroom. Later this week I attended a session explaining what exactly my students will be required to do to pass this test, and I discovered the answer is take everything you’ve ever learned about successful writing… and toss it out the window.

In the 18 years I’ve been teaching I’ve watched the testing companies take over the education world. They drive our curriculum, they set the bar, they make billions of dollars off the idea of education reform. And yet, for all their billions, and the bars they’ve supposedly raised, there have been no measurable gains in true academic achievement. In fact, Fortune 500 companies and universities across the country complain that we’ve raised a generation of kids with AMAZING self-esteems, who can’t problem solve, think creatively or write in a way that effectively communicates their thoughts. We’ve raised a generation who can bubble in test answers like none other, but when they’re given an assignment without step-by-step instructions, they freak out.

The other day a friend told me her 4th grade niece cried all night the night before her test last year. She was terrified of failing. I’m sure her teacher cried all night, too.

I don’t understand. I’m all for real education reform. I’m all for saying let’s encourage schools to set up systems for student success and academic achievement. I’m all for measuring data and collaboration. But these tests we spend billions on have done nothing good for education.

I went to school in the era before the test. I had my fair share of lousy teachers, but more often than not, my teachers were dedicated professionals intent on seeing me succeed in the classroom. The test has changed NOTHING. We still have lousy teachers who need to be counseled into new professions, but most of us are constantly seeking to do better, be better, inspire our students to academic achievement.

I realize the testing companies love to tell you how we’re behind the curve when it comes to education. That’s hogwash.

No other country educates every student, no matter what, for free. Quite honestly, I’d put our top students against any other country’s top students any day of the week. No other country says if you’re willing to work hard you can do anything regardless of your mental starting point. No other country can boast the numbers of people we see on a daily basis who’ve built million and billion dollar corporate empires from the ground up. Our spirit of entrepreneurship and our commitment to democracy have always been building blocks of this nation, and that was the case before tests ruled education.

My fear: tests will kill that spirit and commitment because both of those require the ability to problem solve, think critically and embrace creativity.

YOU have the power to change this.

Educators do not.

Please, I’m begging you, do something about this. Don’t let our children continue to suffer the mindless monotony of bubbled in answer documents and No. 2 pencils. Put tests back where they should be: tools to measure but not the be all end all of our public education system.

Sincerely,

 

Mary Beth Lee

Rider Journalism

Advertisements

170 responses to “A Plea From a Teacher

  1. Very well said. Are you familiar with the IB program? I love the way they use essays and portfolios for assessment–everyone learns something from the process. That’s how I’d like my student success to be measured.

  2. God bless you, Mary Beth! This is what I have been trying to say and have never said as well.

    You explain perfectly why our education system is collapsing, and I hope those who can do something will.

  3. Great job, Mary Beth! You speak for all Texas teachers.

  4. Did you send this to the legislators? I agree. The only ones benefiting are the testing companies. Could you imagine what could be done for education if that money was not given to the testing companies each year?
    Well written. If you haven’t sent it, do.

  5. Gretchen Pitts

    Kudos from an Oklahoma teacher! We feel the same way!

  6. AMEN! thanking for eloquently saying what I have been thinking!

  7. Thank you.

  8. As a parent of a student who is to become a teacher, I pray that all teachers, parents, and students unite and try to get our education system back to where it should be. Focused on the students learning true education,
    not being taught to a test.

  9. Very well written and to the point. I hope this was sent to each legislator and they are smart enough to take a note. This states children are being cheated out of learning how to think. This wasn’t the first year this happen its been going on for many years. The schools slam the door in the face of a parent if they open the door to “how are we teaching our children to thiink.” Its a mess. Get the lawyers out of office and some people who work for a living thinking in the classrooms.

  10. Great letter. As a business man with small children, my perspective is quickly evolving on how I want my kids educated. I see the world as a massive laboratory, and the kids should be out in it learning from experiences. Those are the lessons that will stick with them for life. Keep up the fight.

  11. Have we forgotten the real truth behind teaching? I think so. Not only are we killing the joy of teaching, but we are killing the joy of our student’s learning. All they hear from us is “It’s not on the test!” We have a “practice” test today. It seems like one day a week every week my students are tested. If I were one of my students, I would not want to come to school. Since I am a teacher, it makes me not want to teach.

  12. Passionate teacher

    WOW! Exactly what I’ve been wanting to write! I think we are in great danger of burning or students and teachers out! So many of us teachers were born to do this since we could remember. We as passionate, caring, and creative teachers. Many of us want to do this job forever, but the stress that this test, test ,test, mentality has created is completely killing the spirit of teachers and students. My son has cried many nights due to this stress, and as a teacher I have too. I have been thinking of leaving this profession not because I don’t like it, but simply because my life is completely consumed with added stress of a darn test! It’s sad because I am the type of teachers that gives 150% everyday, but unfortunalety a test doesn’t show that. We need this insanity to stop and allow students to enjoy learning and going to school again!

  13. One of the unintended results of the govt-driven over emphasis on tests is that it drives students out of the public school system. Each year, we get a few new members in our homeschool group who’ve just said “enough!” to the wasted time, unnecessary stress, and the spirit-killing effects of tests. While I’m a big fan of homeschooling, I wish that public school educators were free to educate their students to the best of their abilities. It would benefit everyone (except the pocketbooks of the testing companies).

  14. Tega McGuffin

    AMEN! From a teacher in West Virginia

  15. Jerri McClennen

    Very well put. I’m a 27 year veteran with experience in Kinder, first, second and third grade. I’m furious as well and I tend to let my emotions get in the way when I try to articulate how I’m feeling about public education in Texas right now. I’d also like to point out that testing affects the”non-tested” lower grades as well. With the testing stakes being raised, our curriculum is now lacking in basic foundations for early grades, “putting the cart before the horse” in many critical areas while supposedly increasing the “rigor” of learning standards. I’m retiring at the end of this school year, way earlier than I ever thought I would. I long for the days when teachers were trusted and enabled by their administrators to teach and facilitate the learning of their precious students.

  16. Passionate teacher

    AMEN! It affects the lower grades a lot too! They are lacking MANY critical foundations and even basic skills that are developmental. This new “rigor” mentality is insane! The pacing of lessons is also crazy! I am very disappointed in what is happening to education here in Texas. Almost makes me want to move somewhere else!

  17. I agree with Mart Beth Lee 100%. There are kids that don’t do well with test.They would do far better with some of the old fashion way of testing. Most teachers know where and what areas their students need help.So I feel the money spent on the new way of testing could be put to better use. Maybe more hands on material for the class rooms.

  18. Matt Chalmers

    I am a graduate of Gainesville High School and a 39 year veteran teacher/administrator in Texas. I will say the only thing that needs to be said, “AMEN!!”.

  19. Debbie Tarango

    Wow! Love it! We are the only industrialized nation that includes our special ed students in our numbers. Others do not. By the way I’m tired of people labeling our kids as numbers. My children are unique and beautiful people and not a % on a specific TEK … on ANY test! You go girl!!!

  20. Well stated – I hope teachers, parents, and taxpayers everywhere start telling elected officials at all levels NO MORE. Educators, as parents and taxpayers do have power and they need to remember to use their power, not stand by feeling helpless.

  21. Amen.

  22. Love your letter, Mary Beth….I, too, am like many responding to your letter. I am an educator of over 30 years and a student since 1959. For years, I have been trying to have people see that the “old fashioned” achievement tests I took all through school and administered my first few years of teaching gave us a lot of data about individual student growth that could be tracked across the years. Teachers did not teach toward passing that test. They taught to equip children to grow as learners from year to year. I am retiring at the end of this school year and feel my last years have been frustrating to take away the love of learning and change it to the almighty test….shame on the legislators at every level for putting children and teachers in this position. Keep up the fight…..don’t give up putting kids first! They deserve it!

  23. you had me agreeing and heartily nodding until this:

    “No other country educates every student, no matter what, for free. Quite honestly, I’d put our top students against any other country’s top students any day of the week. No other country says if you’re willing to work hard you can do anything regardless of your mental starting point. No other country can boast the numbers of people we see on a daily basis who’ve built million and billion dollar corporate empires from the ground up. Our spirit of entrepreneurship and our commitment to democracy have always been building blocks of this nation, and that was the case before tests ruled education.”

    actually, there are many other countries which educate every student, no matter what, for free. Including my own New Zealand. And Great Britain. And Sweden, and…. you get the picture. If not, google is your friend.

    Your incorrect assertions in this paragraph come across as arrogant from an outsiders perspective.

    From a New Zealand teacher.

    • I agree. Though this piece doesn’t have a lot of evidence included for the assertions, I have heard very similar things and would generally agree with her on most of it. The particular assertion of having been the best in the world in the past, however, would require a little research and hopefully some evidence presented and it looks like that didn’t happen.

      • It’s not really free for every student either. We pay taxes and book fees which can be quite high. If we elect to educate our own children at home or private school, we still pay for other children to go to public school. The “free education” myth has been around for a long time.

        But overall, I agree with this post. My 7 year old nephew was penalized at school because he was incorrectly filling out bubble sheets, never mind he was getting the math problems right on his worksheet! That is just nonsense.

  24. So true!

  25. Teresa Williams

    Have you ever viewed a Race to Nowhere? It is spot on with your post, as well as many of your commenters. I agree with many commenters about the testing mentality hurting lower grades as well. As a parent of a 2nd grader, I feel helpless as to where the education system is heading. It is frustrating beyond words how little teachers are allowed to focus on the very fundamental building blocks of education at these lower grade levels. Now being one of the “older” people in a business environment, I agree, the kids were are churning out today are lost and not problem solvers – critical skills for advancing the way most of them think they should. Thank your for writing this. Let’s ALL write our legislators!

  26. After almost 40 years in education as a teacher/coach and administrator all I have to say is; “Amen! and we’ve been suckered in to a losing situation.”

  27. I have made these same comments for years! I am nearly 40 and I have two younger siblings that are in their late 20’s. I left school with a completely different education than they did in just a few years difference. When I took state tests, you got graded on what level you tested (i.e. in 4th grade with each section you would have a grade of 4th grade 8th month or 7th grade 3rd month, etc.). My sisters took a test with a passing grade of 70. In those few years our teachers were forced to change teaching from problem solving and deductive reasoning to filling in bubbles. It was and is so frustrating to see. I wish they would go back to the “old way” of teaching which was creative thinking, deductive reasoning, etc. We were much better educated when we were taught how to solve the problem instead of what they do now.

  28. I used to own a business where I had to close shop because the people that were interested in working for me did not have the higher thinking skills needed to do the job. I think the current testing climate in schools is one of the things driving puzzle-solving video games, because that people that buy those games are not getting the problem-solving stimulation they need in school.

  29. Mary Beth, you have articulated well the frustrations that many of us in education are feeling right now. Thank you for sharing this!

    I suggest that you also address this letter to your Federal representatives, the U.S. Department of Education, Ed Secretary Arne Duncan, and President Obama. Many of these testing requirements come down from the Federal level and are tied to money. States could ignore the requirements, but they would lose out on a great deal of Federal funding if they did so.

    • An even better solution to this problem would be to get the federal government completely out of education (it’s not one of their enumerated powers in the Constitution) and return the money they currently receive for that purpose to the states, where it rightfully belongs.

  30. Janna Christian

    My son is a junior and my daughter is in the sixth grade. Years ago I contacted my senators, representative, Governor Perry and anyone else who would listen regarding my dissatisfaction with the TAKS tests. I was pleased to learn that the TAKS would be abolished. However, my son would fall into the category of having to continue to take it to graduate. I was not pleased but thirlled that my daughter would be free of the TAKS. Along came the STARR test. I now witness the stress she endures. I find myself wishing she could take the TAKS instead! I have always been an advocate of the public school system. My parents were both teachers. However, I am so tired of telling my kids…..You just have to deal with it. Our children and teachers deserve better.

  31. Wow. So very well said and soooo true! Dear God. Won’t they try to understand? They are too far removed from the classroom & dictating from afar. These children are human beings not robots.

  32. I agree with you Mary Beth. I have volunteered in DISD schools for many years and I have worked with children that know the answers but if you give them a written test they will fail it everytime. I have sat and asked the questions verbally and they wrote the answers on paper and most of the time they would make 100 on the test. They just could not read the question and comprehend what the answer was. The teachers just don’t have enough time to help these children and the others too, Your tests make it impossible for these students to pass.

  33. In my travels around the state of Texas,gathering and checking the mission statements of schools,all the schools speak of the education of the student. Nowhere does it speak that the teacher is to be the data collector for the TEA or the secretary of the administration. However, that is what teachers have become.

  34. Very eloquently put. Have you thought about posting this on change.org? Teachers across the nation need to come together if we truly want to see change. I think media could allow us to ban together like never before to be heard! I have considered change.org myself but you have already written what needs to be said. We need change!

  35. I am so absolutely with you, especially when it comes to comparing our students to those from other countries that do not educate the entire population. Thank you for writing. I hope someone will take your words to heart.

  36. I have a gut wrenching story about my own daughter and these ridiculous tests!! It’s such a long story but I will try to make it as short as I can. My daughter is now 35 so it was when Ann Richards was our Governor and at that time I was prepared to march in to Austin and start pulling hair (mine was already gone). My son, now 37, and daughter were and are both dyslexic. They both had problems with auditory instruction and diagnosed early in elementary school. I, of course, had to do all the work to get them tested and find tutors for them. My son’s teacher just labeled him lazy. That’s the easy way out isn’t it. I told her and the principal they were wrong. My son would bring home books from school and eagerly sit in my lap to read. I knew something wasn’t right and usually we both would be in tears…him for not being able to read and me for not knowing what exactly was wrong. I had speech therapists and audiologists help me and guide me. So, when my daughter followed his footsteps, I knew what I had coming. Both my son and my daughter were tutored ALL 12 YEARS of school. Math tutors and reading tutors were a way of life for them. We had late evenings every night doing homework for school and homework for tutors.

    Let me tell you about my daughter. When she was in the 1st grade, her teacher would send all of her work home with huge red -0- on them. She literally had my daughter’s self esteem as flat as the classroom floor. I pulled her from public school because the teacher and principal would not help me out, and put her in a montessori school until 4th grade. When she was in the 4th grade, I had her reading teacher call me in and told me she was going to work with my daughter. In one of our meetings, the teacher told me she felt my daughter was going to break and to expect it. This was hard to hear because each school year made me anxious and worried. We kept the routine of tutors and late nights and fortunately both my kids were in a smaller school thru 8th grade and had more one on one. When my daughter reached high school, which was a 5A school, I made a point to talk to each of her teachers and explained the situation and requested she be placed on the front row. This was helpful when she needed to hear all the instruction of the teacher without much interference. Luckily all her teachers were helpful and definitely agreed with me and kept me informed. My daughter was very active in school activities (which was an incentive to keep her grades up) and I loved the fact that she was loved by so many. She never met a stranger and was friendly to everyone no matter what “group” or “clique” they were in. Before my daughter’s senior year, she asked that I not talk to her teachers and let her handle it. I respected her wishes, but it didn’t take long before her english teacher called me. This teacher taught honors english classes mostly, but luckily she had my daughter in one of her other classes. This teacher wanted to know if there was something wrong with my daughter because she felt there was but just couldn’t put her finger on it. I gave her the my daughters history and she asked if she could work with my daughter on the side. The teacher also let me know that my daughter worked harder than any of her honor students!! This teacher was worried because my daughter had already failed the english portion of the TAAS test and the teacher wanted to make sure she did pass the next test in order to walk across the stage with her class at graduation. We all were delighted that she finally, with extra help, did pass the test. The teacher called me before she told my daughter. My daughter cried….no sobbed, when the teacher told her. I was beside myself with joy.

    Now let me tell you the gut wrenching part of this story. My daughter was class favorite, student council president, varsity cheerleader, and president of the senior class. This meant that at the graduation ceremony, she would give the class speech. I was worried what was going to happen if she did not pass the TAAS which would mean she would not only not get to walk across that stage, but be humiliated in front of hundreds of classmates because she would not be able to participate by giving the speech that all her classmates knew was her responsibility! I WANTED TO KICK ASS!!! I could not understand how 12 years of constant long nights of study and homework and tutors was going to be all for nothing! One test was going to make that decision for her! Another point I would love to make is that these tests will NEVER teach our students any of the important things that really matter when it comes to success in their future. I am fortunate my daughter and son both have integrity and people skills that have far outweighed their test scores. You can’t teach that! Furthermore, I would like to let it be known that my kids both have college degrees and yes it took 5 years to do it, but they knew how to work hard to get there. I feel sorry for the kids now because this stress is starting at an even earlier age. Now I see my grandchildren worrying about their testing scores and they are in elementary school! My hope is that these kids that can’t pass these tests do not feel forced to just give up and drop out! We don’t want to take the steam out of anyone that has potential to make a difference in our society all because of a test.

    I know I sound like I have rambled but I just want so badly to help our kids and your article just struck a nerve and gave me that anxious feeling in my gut again. If you ever need a person to back you up for the fight, I am ready!

    Thanks for listening,

    • Passionate teacher

      MaryBethLee,
      Your story completely defines the problems we are about to face with this new STARR test. This new test had administrators, teachers, and students going completely NUTS!!! School is no longer a place of fun learning, rather a place of daily stress and anxiety for both students and teachers. They say that we need to teach with “rigor”, so that these kids will make it to college. At this rate, we will be lucky if they make it to middle school! There is a REALLY BIG PROBLEM headed our way! We all need to speak up and say ENOUGH is ENOUGH! These lawmakers have never stepped foot in a classroom and we are letting them make all the decisions. We need to unite and put an end to all this mess!!!!

  37. The above comment came from an emailed response. I’ve posted the letter with permission.

  38. Debbie Turney

    Well said.

  39. I, too, am a Texas Teacher. I have taught in Texas for 20 years and believe you have put this message very succinctly.

    I also believe for all of their education reform the companies have really only repackaged ideas which have their beginnings in John Dewey’s educational ideas of the 1930s, and the “new” ideas which were going to revolutionize education in the 1950s.

    You are so right about the US educating ALL students and then comparing our students results to countries where they only educate the top 3-5%. Hogwash!

    While these politicians and testing companies plan tests to stifle our students with bubbles and grids, the students who have a desire careers which do not require a college degree are told their dream is wrong, and those of us with a Bachelors degree are see an erosion of the value of our degree by those who insist that everyone should go to college. Everyone is allowed to have their own dream in the US. Atticus Finch had it right. There are some of us who are simply smarter than others and all the testing and self esteem will never add one bit to the student who has his whole educational world “modified” all the way through college.

  40. I very much enjoyed reading this! I am a mother of three children. In fact, my oldest daughter has just spent three days straight taking our state test and will continue with even more testing next week! I lived in Texas my whole life until three years ago when we moved to Colorado. Let me tell you what we now face in our new school. Starting last year when my middle child began kindergarten, they skipped teaching kinder math and instead started teaching 1st grade math. Parents were not aware of this change until school started and I still don’t think some parents realize it this year when they are teaching 2nd grade math in 1st grade!! They say it is not because of the test. Right?!? Our poor daughter hates math and is behind even though they are not teaching her what she SHOULD be learning. How can a child not be behind when they are starting them out behind in the beginning? So, she we are now paying for tutoring so our 1st grader can do 2nd grade math and do well on the beloved test. We are not going down without a fight and have met with the teacher and principal. Up next, the school board. This insanity must stop!

  41. Maggie Devens, Texas, U.S.A.

    First, i beg to differ about education being free. i am still paying school tax on my property and my kids are in their 40’s. i have raised three grandchildren and i have learned to hate the tests. my youngest grandchild dreads being promoted because of the testing for the next year. that is horrible. EVERY PARENT AND TEACHER needs to send letters to the white house and every rep and senator in this country. bombard them. if i had children in my house today I would home school. no child of mine would ever enter a public school as they are today. the teachers are great, but the schools are horrible just due to the testing policies. i just had a discussion with a 4th grade teacher about the testing. she is retiring early and with a smile on her face. she loves her students and her job, but she cannot “teach”. none of them can. it is pitiful actually. schools are state supported therefore they are OUR EMPLOYEES. lets remind them that they work for US. please get those letters out and let them know we are tired of them ruining our children. my opinion, thank you.

  42. Kudos to Commisioner Robert Scott, who just called testing in Texas a “perversion” of its original intent! Our Legislators do not listen to educators because they think we don’t want to be accountable (just one more insult to public educators). Our business leaders and communities must get involved and DEMAND accountability from our legislators for the $100,000,000 a year they spend just on the direct costs of this worthless and ineffective testing perversion!!!! Between the testing perversion and $4 billion dollar cuts to public education, they are choking the life out of our schools! Thank God for educators who persist in doing all they can to preserve a rich learning environment in the midst of the insanity!

  43. My daughter has had a panic attack every year she takes one of these state test. She ends up having an asthma attack . I had to take this test in school “taas” too and all it did was stress me out. I was an A student but the thought of that test holding me back scared me to death. I wish the state officials would listen. Since we are not waving money in their face like drug companies etc. 😦 it is doubtful

  44. Mary Beth Lee you likely are a wonderful teacher, however I had the misfortune of having terrible elementary teachers for my children. These tests were a god send for me. We had teachers who simply put did not teach but babysat. When my son was grade 1, he was not reading. Querying the teacher I asked, “Why?”. Response was he enjoyed the play activity center and she did not want to stress him by forcing him into reading center. Hmmm.. okay 1 aberration. Grade 2, child wasn’t spelling properly. Teacher’s response, “Yes, your quite right, here parent is a list of 200 words he should know how to spell. If I teach him to spell, I will lose my job as not part of the curriculum”. Strangely other elementary schools were teaching spelling. Obviously total BS. Grade 3, child tells me he is doing his arithmetic with a calculator. Immediately tell child under no circumstances will he use a calculator and communicate this to the teacher. She argues with me about the benefits of a calculator. Hello, I am an accountant. Very cognizant of the benefits of a calculator, especially in my job. However not when your just learning the basics.
    Bottom line the inmates were running the asylum. Standardized testing forced these teachers to be responsible and earn the money they were making. I use to have to spend my nights after work teaching my children to read and do simple math. I was not remunerated by the school board for doing the teachers job. After work did I not wish to do other things with my children. You bet I did. So please do not complain about standardized testing. Complain about your colleagues that forced this testing to come into play and forgot that teaching was a profession, not just a paycheck.

    • It’s the law makers that have no clue how things work in the classroom making laws and the administration following blindly, because it is tied to $$. The school has no way of paying the teachers or buying new books or study guides for the new test without the federal $$. We need to get rid of the federal dept of education and let the Independant ( in name alone) school districts run the school.

    • Renata,
      My heart broke for you as I read your post. I can’t imagine being a parent stuck in a failing school system. I’m fortunate that I’ve never seen such a system. I’ve heard they exist. The saddest part about your post, though, is that you believe testing fixed the problem. In fact, that’s one of the biggest problems with the test based system we’ve adopted in our country that is quickly destroying our schools. The test was billed as some sort of savior for public education. It’s not at all. In fact, that belief is somewhat akin to The Emperor’s New Clothes. A test doesn’t do anything to improve a bad teacher. Bad teachers still exist–with the test–just as they always have. Just like there are bad doctors, dentists, CPAs, cosmetologists, etc. Using a standardized test to solve a problem like the one you’ve described is like slapping a bandage on a punctured artery.

  45. Yes, yes, a resounding YES! I’ve been in education, and specifically special education, for the better part of the last 25 years. Even the TAAS test was less stress-inducing (and had less emphasis placed on it) that today’s testing, and we didn’t even have the levels to accommodate special-needs learners back then. I don’t mind the once-a-year, one-day-out-of-the-routine statewide testing, but this has taken over our curriculum and our time, and has taken the joy out of teaching–and, I believe, learning. I could go on and on about what we can no longer do because it’s not on the test-focused curriculum (like teach about Thanksgiving, at Thanksgiving!). Thanks for outlining these sentiments so eloquently.

  46. @Renata…Standardized testing does not make better teachers. If you did not like your children’s teachers you should have been their advocate and done something, if the principal didn’t find a solution to your problem then go to the head of the district. Also, as a parent, you are supposed to help your children learn as well, a child learns at school and should study at home.

  47. Is this in Houston, TX school system? An area that doesn’t grant Teachers paid sick leave? Think Teacher Administrators best read more aout health care acts also.
    News media has been showing conditions that existed for 2 Orphans cared for by their Aunt. Basically, now under Child protection after they authorities investigated reports by School.

  48. I am PTO president of our elementary school, working hard for FREE so my kids can have the best education they can. I hand pick their teachers and can see the difference that makes. Why do u think they make a anew test every 5 years?? So after the straight line of results won’t get too long. There are so many issues, where to begin???

  49. I think one of the reasons my daughter became a teacher is because of what you taught her and she saw in you. Thank you for that. Public education teachers inspire our youth every day. It shows that the good teachers can overcome the obstacles. Keep up the good fight. Education should open minds, not close them.

  50. Sad that all teachers are blogging about this and yet the powers that be don’t care. Some of my kids are really stressed about the STAAR that looms right around the corner. We need to start a letter writing campaign!

    • I would love to be a part of that committee. REALLY!My 7th grader cant pas the TAKS for reading, yet gets A’s and B’s. he struggles with ADHD, anxiety/depression…this doesnt help!!!!!

  51. James - TX Teacher and 4th Grade Dad

    Well said. My wife and I are both Texas public school teachers and have a fourth grader. The child gets so anxious the days of stupid BENCHMARKS that we are considering letting him stay home the day of the actual STAAR test. I never in 100 years would have thought as a public school teacher considering putting my child in private school, but my child gets so stressed out over that stupid STARR/TAKS test that it is something that I have given conisderation to if things do not change. He gets physically ill on the day of the benchmarks. I dread the day of the upcoming real one. We have assured him that it is just a field test, but that hasn’t calmed his nerves at all.

    • We’ve been told it’s just a field test, but then a note was sent out saying, the results will still determine what happens the next year. In other words, if my son doesn’t pass, he still gets no electives, another year of reading 180 and a lower self esteem.A teacher once told me…once they get to highschool, they are “ruined” from all of the testing if they don’t pass and keep having special classes like my son and never pass the reading taks. Yet, he has A’s and B’s and had straight A’s in 6th grade. Frustrating. What happens if they stay home? They still have to retake it right?

  52. WOW! I’m not a teacher, but a mother of a wonderful and bright child who does well in school, works hard, is caring, loving, yet struggles internally, with ADHD and anxiety/depression, and works extra hard, more than most, to get the good grades that he gets…….but has not yet really pass the reading TAKS test.He’s now in 7th grade. He’s been in special this and special that….been taken away from all of his electives. Eats with the 8th graders and spends 2 periods in a special reading 180 class. He’s tutored, always had a special teacher for reading, etc….. He shines in Math, and on math tests, but reading….and application tests, not so well. He tries his very best. The day of the TAKS test, the teachers say he has the deer in the headlights look. I sure wish there was something to do. I’m not sure why he doesn’t test well. I think you are right. They are taught just for the test and not for what they know or their creative minds. I’ve been ignored when it comes to getting him an education plan until this year and he’s in 7th grade. His biological father never passed the reading taks test either, and never got his diploma. I don’t want this to happen to him. My son gets good grades in school, yet can’t pass the reading TAKS…….is this going to stop my son from becoming what he wants to be bc of this testing???? I would hope not. If he doesn’t pass this year, he goes into special ed??!! You said it perfectly and GOD bless those ewonderful teachers out there like you and the ones he has had, bc they are on his side!! Thank you!

  53. I agree. It’s sad and change needs to be made now!!

  54. Christina Dixon

    I totally agree! I have moved my children to a private school, one because it was obvious how far behind there school was and how far behind my children were. My kids used to cry, throw up, get dizzy over these kinda test! I finally had enough! They are excelling now in private school! I will never have them in public school again until things change!

    • Not everyone can afford such, glad your children are finally excelling and happy, but we need reform before there is no such thing as “free public school”, which may be the only alternative

  55. My daughter spent over 4 hours taking her ” test” when she was un 4th grade. I was furious and shot an email to TEA stating that noone there would sit still for that long and take a test, but my 9 year old was expected to! Their reply was to blame the school stating the test didn’t really take that long but that the school district forced children to stop and take breaks! If I had a problem I should take it up with the school.

  56. Pingback: A Plea From a Teacher | adaptivelearnin | Scoop.it

  57. Mary Beth,
    I definitely agree with you whole-heartily. We are not building life long learned anymore. All these kids know how to do in school anymore is take a test!! I, too, am a 28- year veteran teacher and I have seen it all. I just hope and pray that the public school system of Texas will get back to the basics so that kids can learn like they used to!! Thanks for writing and sharing your article!!

  58. Absolutely fabulous letter!!!!!
    Every word is so true and so eloquently written.
    Thank you for speaking on behalf of Texas educators and students!!

  59. What a great blog! Thank you for sharing. I pray that things change in our education system for our students and teachers!

  60. Well Said!! I am a 35 year veteran of teaching and I am retiring this year because I feel I no longer teach the students in the public school setting. Testing has taken over. No more do we teach the students but we teach to test the students. Thank you for expressing your sentiments; you are a God send to teachers everywhere!

  61. Great letter! I am currently serving as a trustee for a 4A district. I have been involved in this issue since the unfortunate passing of NCLB. Early on, some of us warned of unintended consequences but those warnings fell on deaf ears. I was one of thousands of mothers who sent our testimony to Tommy Thompson’s sunset committee and thought common sense was actually coming to the forefront. I was totally shocked when all of the advances that I thought were being made abruptly came to an end. I was terribly naïve to the government process. No more.

    Pearson is spending millions lobbying our legislators for the tests because they are earning billions producing it. They have now corrupted the business community into supporting this onerous fraud. Our children are not a business and should not be treated as such.

    I have spent countless hours trying to find a solution to the problem but nothing has worked thus far. I am coming to the conclusion that it will take a massive grassroots effort (unlike anything we have seen before) by parents, teachers, trustees and administrators to correct the wrongs.

    Mary Beth, I read your article on Facebook and reposted it and many of my friends have reposted. I am praying your letter will be a catalyst for change.

    • Janet, check out Save Texas Schools. I wasn’t able to go to the rally in Austin this weekend, but the organization is growing. I think you are absolutely correct. It’s going to take parents, teachers, administrators, business leaders, education reformers…ALL of us to make this change.
      I will say the test in and of itself isn’t bad. A tool to measure mastery of a common set of standards, isn’t a bad thing. It’s how legislators have turned it into the be all, end all of education that’s the problem.
      Politicians want an easy fix. The test is a Band-Aid. Real reform is about something far more than a test. I hope we can gather enough support to make a change. But it’s going to take some mighty loud voices to fight the dollars and cents spent by testing companies on lobbyists to make sure the test continues as the centerpiece of education.

  62. While I totally agree with you about our young ppl having all the confidence in the world without the actual smarts to get ahead in our society, I’m soooo over the arguement that “back in my day things were…, well things were just better!” I am 27 yrs old and I think that teachers, for the most part are good ppl and are put against a system that they just can’t compete with so instead of condemning an entire educational system, do what YOU can do to change YOUR school…I’m sorry but this letter just kinda seems like a bunch of complaining without ANY sort of idea on how to change anything. So, like I said, do what you can within your world to evoke change in your world

    • Madchef,
      Trust me when I say teachers around the United States have plenty of ideas on how to fix education. Ideas based on research done by educators, true reformers, not testing companies. Ideas like vertical and horizontal alignment, project based learning, common standards, cooperative learning and problem solving. In no way was this letter complaining without answers. I have answers. Teachers like me have answers. That’s the whole point. BUSINESSES do NOT have the answers for education. And people who’ve never had experience with public education have no clue about how to fix the problems either.
      In answer to your “Back in my day” comment: Funny thing. My day was a long time ago, and yet, my friends and I were able to enter college, make solid marks, move on into a profession. My college entrance exam grades were solid. Today’s professors and business owners say they don’t get enough of those students. Instead they get students who have been taught to take a test. I’m sorry, but I just don’t see when test-taking skills will EVER be a solid foundation for education. I don’t have a problem with the test. I have a problem with how the test is being taught and how schools are held accountable based on those scores. If you don’t, you should do some more research, make your points on something other than your opinion. Opinions alone don’t count for much. Prove it.
      I can.
      We’ve spent billions of dollars on tests that were supposed to be the saviors of public education, and we’ve got nothing to show for it. SAT’s haven’t budged. College graduation rates, even though FAR more students start, haven’t changed. The research we have proving the tests work: done by testing companies. Not very reliable.
      Want to see the real reason tests control public education? Check out this article…if you care.
      As Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. It doesn’t matter what you name the test, if it is the be all, end all, it’s insanity.

  63. Thank you Mary Beth. What these testing companies fail to see is that each child learns differently. Instead of telling these kids ‘how’ they should learn, the companies need to let educators create a way of imparting information that meets the needs of each child. I am an aspiring teacher with a deep interest in early childhood. After working in a few classrooms I noticed that all these children are thrown in a group as one. I find it disturbing that students are looked at by their $$$$ worth instead of people who are going to mold the future.

  64. I agree wholeheartedly!! We are raising kids to be test takers and not problem solvers. We are raising kids to believe that there is only one answer to every question and that thinking creatively has no where in education. Stop spending billions of dollars on creating tests and put that money into making sure there are enough teachers for a school so that there aren’t over crowded classrooms!

  65. Wow! You really got a lot of teacher’s and parent’s attention! It is too bad teachers like you are not listened to. Testing has become the biggest obstacle to real learning and teaching in our schools. Benchmark tests and practice test preparation takes nearly a month away from actual teaching students. These tests are responsible for many students dropping out of high school. I taught GED classes for 5 years in a work force center after I retired from teaching for 36 years. Nearly every one of those students quit school because they could not pass whatever alphabet soup title test they needed to pass. Many of these students had to overcome the fear of taking tests before they could become a successful student. I do not know why people not in the education field think they are experts in what students need to be successful students. Bubbling in circles would not even be on a list of things a student needs to learn! Keep teaching your students the things they need to know. Your school is very fortunate to have a teacher like you.

  66. Mary Beth,
    A friend sent me this thread. THANK YOU for stating what we all are feeling. The STAAR heads the list of past attempts which set students up for failure, and fail to allow really good teachers to do what they dream of doing.
    Something has got to be done. It can’t happen without a lot of noise. Let’s get really loud!

  67. This is the best letter I have seen regarding the state of education in Texas. Wonderful, Mary Lee!!

  68. VERY WELL SAID!! I hope you can get some results. This is exactly why I quit teaching after only 12 years. I am a visual learner & the last school in which I taught for 7 years, was focused on teaching to the 7 intelligences. Our motto was “Children are Smart in Many Ways” to which I agree 100%. The last 2 years I taught, I sat there and watched students take the test… a few made puzzles in their dot to dot answers, several were really into trying to remember everything they had been taught and apply it to the test, then there were a few others with tears streaming down their cheeks, saying, “I don’t get it. I don’t understand what they’re asking. I’m afraid I’ll get it wrong.” I prayed over those kids, cried over them, and thought this is the most absurd thing that we are doing to children. I hated it. I resigned. Thank you for sticking it out and for trying to get someone’s attention to make a difference.

  69. Well said, Marybeth. We can only pray that the officials in command will listen to the frustrated educators and make some very much needed changes.

  70. As a citizen, mother, and grand-mother I want this travest stopped. How can we return education back to the educators and parents?

  71. I recently retired from teaching in Texas for 33 years. I too had always wanted to be a teacher, and I still enjoyed the teaching part when I got out. The major reason I retired is because of all of the testing and pressure in Texas public schools. I completely agree with your letter, and it couldn’t have been stated any better.

  72. My son has dyslexia, and it has been a constant struggle for us since the first grade. He too was labeled as “lazy” by his teacher and principal. I knew better. I’d seen the tears and fear in his eyes when asked to read or recite endless spelling words. I saw the 30 minute homework assignments that turned into 2-3 hour sessions. I pressed on to have him tested. Finally it was done with his results showing at an alarmingly high rate. I cried when the panel told me, but not for the discovery, but for the relief in knowing. He would be able to get the help that he needed. Little did I realize that his problems had just begun. My child then started the thrid grade, and he didn’t know how to read CAT. We knew that he did have to be able to pass the state test that year. Being a teacher myself, I knew that this would be a challenge. He is the honestly the hardest working child on the planet! He not only aced the test, but was commended in Reading. He struggles every year, and even makes himself sick with worry for fear of failing. My son is now in the fifth grade, and he has talked of nothing else except for testing coming up this next week. I hurt for him and the kids like him…..those who have difficulty concentrating with the words moving. They even took away the extra day given for Dyslexic students. Wow! Who was the bright one who came up with that one? Obviously not a teacher or a parent who has seen these bright, smart, and hard working students struggle. I HATE these test and what they’ve done to my students and to my child. If there is a list or a letter to be written please let me know. I want to add my name at the top of the list! Thank you, Mary Beth for bringing light to this matter. Everyone pray extra hard for all those students who are stressed out this week. My baby deserves better than this.

  73. MaryBethLee, Kudos to you!! Your letter is well written and dead on! As a 20 yr veteran elementary teacher, I have been through TABS, TEAMS, TAAS, TAKS, and now STAAR. I left teaching for 5 years due to the politics affecting the classroom in such a negative manner. I returned because teaching is what made me the happiest. I feel like all I do now is teach test taking strategies. Yes, I have lost the love I once had for teaching and the kids have lost the love for learning. People keep saying that schools need reforming. They are right,b ut their solution is only making the situation worse. It is not reforming them at all!

    I am sad and disgusted that one parent thinks that standardized testing holds the teacher accountable. I am sorry that her kids were in that situation and wish they had been in my room, but the testing is only masking how bad the situation really is because public eyes are looking at the test results and not the impact and stress that the tests are having on the classrooms and the children and teachers in those classrooms.

  74. I’ve been teaching for 32 years and have recently retired, thank goodness. Education has become ridiculous nonsense and is heading even more downhill. I don’t understand why no one really “gets it” other than teachers! It is past time for everyone to stand up and say NO MORE OF THIS CRAZY TESTING! Parents, keep you kids HOME on test day and even on make up days (there are only certain days those tests can be made up).
    I cannot agree more with the sentiments of Mrs. Lee! Something/ anything/everything must be done to reverse this “test crazy” curriculum!

    • I made a lovely objection to the punitive style of testing the first go around. No response except when I again objected during a faculty meeting. Some of the rigid demands were loosened and others were “got yas”. I cannot believe that after 37 years of teaching I feel like such a rebel! After testing in a room is completed, all secure and nonsecure test items returned and accounted for, a teacher was chastised for allowing students on a learning site on a computer instead of sitting in their chairs reading or sleeping! It is just ludicrous!

      • Ludicrous is right. We’ve got to teach the vote. If someone had told me 18 years ago that we’d be depriving students of the right to learn upwards of 30 days a month, I would have laughed.

  75. Could not have said it better myself. I think these tests are a waste of time and $$$$$$$$.
    I took my daughter out of a school with lower education levels that only taught for these tests!! They are not college ready when they leave. They struggle in college because they don’t know what they should to prepare them for what is ahead!!
    She is now getting a better education in a school that teaches to learn but even then these tests get in the way of a better teaching!
    Maybe if every community formed a group and marched on their capitols to say no more we could make a change. Until then we live with what is pushed down our throats!!! I say enough!!
    Thank you for being a great teacher and caring enough for your students and others to write this letter!!!
    God Bless!!

  76. Wonderful post! I am a school counselor and the campus testing coordinator. During the Spring semester I am unable to be a counselor to my 400 students due to the 7 days of STAAR and EOC testing. At a time when students are stressed and stretched to their limits with high stakes testing, I am unable to be available to support them. I am constantly in a room that is kept secure at all times……..

  77. As a teacher who has devoted 25 years to public education, I have to say this is an excellent comment on the state of affairs we are all dealing with now. The decision makers – politicians who are NOT experts in the field of education – have abandoned their responsibility to public education. They have made teachers the enemy, and attack us daily in the press and with legislation that does nothing to improve education. When the state cuts funding across the board and says there is no more money, they MAGICALLY find enough to ramp up the standardized testing program. Those tests prove NOTHING and have done NOTHING to improve the quality of education. The general public needs to wake up and not only vote, but make it a habit of contacting the legislators to DEMAND better for our children. I do this regularly, but I am “only” a classroom teacher – the “enemy” who is vilified by my own government. The government has no interest in listening to the people who actually do the work in the classrooms, and they have been very successful in their campaign to pit educators against the public, as if we have completely different goals. The only way things will ever improve is if the public stands with the schools and forces the government to do the right thing.

  78. Actually, Finland educates every student, also. I have lived half of my life in USA and half of my life in Finland. Finland also offers university education and vocational school training for free to those who academically qualify for entrance. Standardised tests are not used much. There is one major standardised test, the matriculation exam, in Finnish ylioppilaskoe. It consists of several different tests on different days, requiring essay answers, fill in the blank, calculations for math, physics, chemistry and some ” bubbling” tests.

    • Thank you, Mervi. I was DEFINITELY wrong about other countries and the education they provide. I love how many people have held Finland’s education system up as a standard to try to achieve. I love that so many Finn educators have spoken up to say stop teaching to the test and treat your teachers like experts in the classroom.

  79. my wonderful fourth grade child is so stressed out about this test!! she is an all a student and is making herself sick over this test. i demand more from texas! set teachers free to be teachers!! not test givers! teachers hate the test too!! let them be the professionals they are and let them teach!! please Texas!! do it for the students and schools. think of the tax payer money saved and invested in other ways.

  80. .I agree wholeheartedly, however, this statement is absolutely false :“No other country educates every student, no matter what, for free.”
    Many countries provide education to all its populace completely free, more free than in the US where we need regular fundraisers to assist in providing even basic subjects. I’d strongly recommend leaving this paragraph out, should you send this letter to legislators.

  81. I could kiss you right now! I am not a teacher, but the parent of an autistic child and a 7th grader with ADHD and some difficulty with retention. She didn’t really start reading well until about 3rd grade, and writing was a chore. Recently, things have started to click, but she is still ticking along on grade level, but takes a bit longer. This “teaching to the test” I feel is the end of freedom in teaching as I knew it as a child entering school in the early 70’s. There were no tests except the weekly spelling tests and multiplication table tests, which we were required to memorize. No more is that a requirement. My 13yr old has a chart she uses and they say, ” oh in high school they all use calculators, so don’t worry about it.” Don’t worry about it? That is a basic lifelong skill!
    As far as spelling goes, we live in a society where autocorrect on an IPad or Word is the norm. These kids get loose on Facebook without spellcheck and “Katy bar the door!”. The spelling is atrocious, and grammar nonexistent. The “pressure papers” we had to write would send these kids into a heaping ball in a corner. This critical thinking to which you refer is a foreign term. They want to get to D without checking out B or C first. They just want the answer as fast as possible because that is the testing environment in which they were educated. Unfortunately, the teacher’s hands are tied by a bureaucracy far removed from a classroom, by those who have likely never set foot in one, or have not done so in 20 years.

    I apologize for my long winded rant but I so agree with you, it isn’t funny. I pulled my autistic child out for a year and he learned more in that year from ME than he did from the district. Was counting to fifty in English and to ten in Spanish from being “non-verbal” ? I think it was more than that. He needed more than they could give and warehousing was their only choice. I fight for my kids and we all should. Glad to see our partners, the teachers, speaking out, too!

  82. Well said. As a science teacher I resent the time taken from hands-on-fun stuff. You speak for so many.

  83. You are my new hero:) Well said!

  84. Very nicely stated. After teaching for 31 years, I walked away from it all at mid-term. I feel so sorry for all of my colleagues that I left behind. I hope to run for school board and then state legislator and try and make some changes for you guys. Keep up the good work!

  85. People, I feel that many of you may be missing the point of the legislators and test companies. I’m far from the kind of person who wears a tin-foil hat, but I fear that what is happening to our children through this testing is EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT. Our schools have been being turned into baloney manufacturing plants for years: they want our children to learn to be good bubble test takers, with no independent thought allowed. Call me fundamentalist, mental, whatever, but I believe it’s working just the way they planned it. Your legislators will toss your letter into file 13. They aren’t listening, because education is not the goal…

  86. D'Lainemadashellandi'mnotgonnatakeitanyMORE!

    HAVEA YOU EVER PLAYED A GAME that you couldn’t win? A game in which the rules change at THE whim? A game that is actually SET UP FOR YOU to lose. Recognizing that you are doomed, has frustration and hopelessness set in?……..THESE ARE THE WORDS I SPOKE TO OUR SUPERINDENDENT THIS MONTH (MARCH 2012) THE PAWNS are our students, our future! Government preaches ‘diversity’ BUT funds conformitY!
    I’m very out-spoken about this UNBELIEABLE control that THE TEST has demanded. GET OUT OF MY BUSINESS!!! GET GOVERNMENT OUT. Think about what we could do with all those BILLIONS of $!
    Our representatives are committing a crime against our children. Amazing.
    =========================================================
    ABOLISH NCLB and Embrace Diversity. Testing has become
    the Quintessence for Unintended Consequences.
    NCLB fosters mediocrity. Educational professionals are manipulated, harassed, and threatened by federal and state officials whose goal is to mold students into a specific pattern established by bureaucrats.
    All time, money, and intellectual resources are aligned to expose the students to some skill expected on THE TEST. Enrichment for the accelerated learner takes a backseat to the ‘bubble’ student – those who have the greatest chance of passing the test, but are on the edge of failure. Thus, our Chopin, Einstein and Edison (s) will never bloom. We will become, ironically, a nation ‘left behind.’
    BILLION $ to a firm to develop our test that will command 8+ weeks to administer – which does not include the administration of benchmark tests.
    GET Out of MY district!
    OLD..ignore Tiny URL to sign petition: http://wh.gov/kzx

    • I have never met an educator that thought the testing system was good for education. All those who think it is are making big bucks and manipulating the administrators. Government is not the answer. It is MOST of the problem. GET OUT OF MY LIFE AND MY FACE! Teach readin, writin and rithmetic and much of the problems will disappear. Thanks for hearing me out. John Gambino/Retired Texas History Teacher.

  87. Amen. I know every teacher in Texas feels exactly the same way! Thank you for articulating what we have felt for so long!

  88. I am in Arkansas and I feel the same way. I have taught second grade for 6 years and it is all about that test and passing it. It doesn’t show what kind of teacher or student you are! we could do a lot more teaching if we didn’t have to teach what’s on the test!!! Elementary students should not have that kind of pressure on them. it also doesn’t get rid of any bad teachers because anyone can teach that test.

  89. Amen! I wish people would listen to teachers . I am resigning after 14 years because I can’t take the ludicrous tests, curriculum, and demands. It breaks my heart. My children are suffering too. My 5th grader is having trouble sleeping tonight. I hate what the state is doing.

  90. As an 18 year veteran myself, I agree wholeheartedly! Sharing this!

  91. I’m in my 14th year of teaching, and I completely agree!!! Thank you!! God bless you!! I am so tired of having to teach to a test. I am a great teacher, but I feel so stymied because my hands are tied.

  92. Melissa McCarty

    Very well said! I am a teacher in the San Antonio area, and one of my friends posted a link to this letter. As I read it, I was pleasantly surprised to recognize the writer. I graduated from Rider (c/o ’98) and am very grateful for the education I received from so many wonderful teachers there. Although I never had you as a teacher, some of my friends did and always spoke highly of you. It’s great to see that you’re still working passionately with students and speaking up for education. Keep up the good work!

  93. Mary Beth,
    It is such a relief to read the responses from you and so many thoughtful, bright, experienced, and articulate 21st century teachers zeroing in on what has gone so horribly wrong with education in the past several decades. I taught in NYC public high schools for 5 years; the Richardson, Tx, schools for 8 years; and the prestigious Fairfax County, VA schools my last 17 years of teaching before retiring 14 years ago; and what you point out is EXACTLY WHAT IT WRONG ACROSS THE BOARD, across all public school systems: the testing companies and the politicos like to think the easy answer to education is testing and more testing of meaningless drivel in meaningless ways. You’re right; these tests in no way can measure solid critical thinking skills; creative ways of synthesizing and processing material that leads to real, meaningful learning; understanding of context and variables; and the development of fluent, articulate writing skills. I have watched the changes with horror: if only they will call upon teachers like you to put them on more enlightened paths, to turn the present mindless tide of glorifying the test as any sort of real gauge of meaningful learning.
    KUDOS to you and STAY BRAVE, STRONG, & DETERMINED because you know our nation’s future depends upon you.
    All the Best,
    Virginia Segal Manczuk

  94. Yes, yes and more yes. Testing has done so much the opposite of how ever much you give them credit for in this article. The fact is that testing more puts teachers into a position of accountability for a system for which they had no part of its demise. Please, please, please let us work out a National System of teacher eval. and if so be it as a result merit pay so that if we are accountable for the whole of the system teachers may have a say in the process as well. Watch out now I’m sounding all union-like;)

  95. Thank you, thank you, thank you! As a former Art teacher who has worked with elementary, middle school and high school students (planning to go back to teaching when my babies are grown) I was always sadly surprised to see the natural creativity of children decrease the older the children were that I worked with. It was obvious to me that this was from the focus on testing as they progressed through school, crushing their ability to “think outside the box”. I could feel their hesitation to let go and be creative, because I think for them it felt wrong to create something that was neither right nor wrong. It makes me sad because I know and could feel that there is something natural and pure in children that is being suppressed. When I worked for a semester at a community college in digital communications, I was told the companies told the work force program directors at the college that they were having trouble finding qualified employees. That the young people coming out of college had the computer skills, but lacked the creativity and vision they were looking for. Again, I feel this is a direct result of testing. They have trained young people not to trust their own unique vision, ideas, thinking and instead instilled in them this belief and even anxiety that there must be one way to solve a problem. It is heart-breaking.

  96. I am an educator with 20 years’ experience in public school, incluing 14 years in two different alternative schools. I now teach in a local private Christian school. I’ve seen the absurdity of these tests ever since we began administering the TAAS, and it hasn’t gotten any better. I think Esther Jones is right on the money, too. This is contrived. Children who are taught to problem solve and think for themselves are less likely to become welfare recipients and thus, government dependent. There’s more propaganda that gets taught in our public schools than anything else. I saw the beginning when I was a student in Houston. I’m convinced that the only way we change anything is through vouchers. Only if the money is threatened will anyone do anything to improve our schools. They hold all the cards, and our kids are paying for it. As long as the Lord makes a way my daughter will NEVER attend public school!

  97. About my last comment, sorry if my comment wasn’t very well written! I typed it on my phone, but I was so inspired by what you wrote I had to reply right away! Thank you for speaking for me and many, many, teachers I have worked with over the years. Hearing from passionate teachers inspires me to go back to teaching and working with young people.

  98. Amen Mary Beth!! Very well put! I agree with you completely!!

  99. Thank You Mary Beth! Both as a parent & teacher – very well said. I hope you sent it in.

  100. AMEN! I feel exactly the same way.

  101. Jessica Kemmerer

    I agree with everything except your assertion that we are the only country that educates every child for free. There are many MANY countries that educate all students for free. And, I would easily say that our students ARE behind the curve, but testing is not the answer, I think it might be part of the problem. With the way we design our tests, we quit teaching critical thinking and other skills, which puts our students behind.

    Aside from that paragraph, which makes Americans sound ignorant and arrogant, (which I know was NOT your intention), the rest is beautifully written. If you have not already sent this to legislatures, I would say do so! But edit that one paragraph so that we teachers sound educated ourselves. 🙂

  102. Leisha Darling

    I thought this was beautifully expressed. We homeschool our daughter because we believe it the absolute best learning experience we can offer her. It has been a grave mistake to saddle teachers with the job of shaping our children’s self-esteem rather than teaching them how to learn.

    I applaud what you have written but, I have a question. I do not understand what you mean by saying parents have to fight this fight because teachers can do nothing. Why not? I believe teachers need to fight the testing and fight their unions.

    • Leisha,
      Thank you for your comment. In Texas, we have teachers organizations instead of unions, so we don’t have any kind of collective bargaining.
      Teachers have been fighting this fight for the last 15 years, and we’re told time and again the only reason we’re protesting the way the test is used to judge students, teachers and schools is because we’re lazy. TOGETHER we can make a difference, but teachers alone can’t. Thank goodness parents are stepping up in record numbers to say enough is enough.

  103. 35 yr Veteran Teacher Retired here…and I applaud your stand. When administering 3rd grade tests, a question read: “If you sleep with the windows open, which is likely to occur? A-You get dirt in your eyes. B-You get a sore throat. C-The noise will keep you awake. D-The insects will bother you.” Seriously? Living out here on the New Mexico desert, ALL of those answers are viable. It’s shameful to think a question like that might actually determine how much a child knows! When we complained another test had no relevance to OUR area (it asked questions about Joe and Mary on a SUBWAY), they heard our pleas and changed it to Jose and Maria. Once more, the intelligence of the testing agencies is in question! More about the testing concept itself. If you want to get some cultural ideas changed in our country, you needn’t go to the textbook companies, but rather to the testing companies. Whatever is on the test WILL be taught because teachers want their class to excel – their jobs depend upon it. Maybe, if teachers didn’t have to choose between filling out standards and benchmarks or keeping track of how many times Johnny answered questions today, or recording a zillion other useless tasks AND they could simply teach/interact with the students instead of maintaining discipline between reports, then they could actually prepare/present the lessons. I retired because I could either do their paperwork or teach students. Paperwork was their priority and that didn’t fit in with my passion for teaching.

  104. Very well said! For the reasons you have stated here, I have seriously considered homeschooling my four children. But then they would miss out on the incredible teachers who have helped shape their lives.

  105. This is so well stated and something I could not feel more strongly about. I have a daughter who has been considered very gifted by every teacher she hes ever had starting in Mother’s Day Out and Preschool. In Kindergarten she was tested and identified as gifted and talented, and throughout elementary school she was able to participate in a pull-out program that nurtured and fed her need to include creativity and problem solving in her daily education process. Now, in Middle School, her education has been reduced to test taking, which is absolutely not her strength, and I can see her “performance” in the classroom to be just that, a “performance”, one that will perhaps meet her teacher’s expectations, but not necessarily exceed them. I feel that we are working towards getting all of our students operating on one level. Instead of spending education dollars on meeting kids where they are and stretching them in every way we possibly can to create a generation with amazing abilities, we are creating a generation of people who are really good at filling in bubbles, and making the people who are creating all of these tests very wealthy!

  106. Thank you for saying what all highly qualified teachers feel. I have taught 18 Years in Arkansas. Our state leads the country with many teachers turning to medications to help them cope with the great demands and expectations. I like you believe children deserve time and opportunity to learn. We do not always get help with resources and then it eventually comes out the teachers’ pocket. I know teachers that ate losing their health and have even died due to the stress put on us from administration. They seem to only think about money and scores and hide behind that they are thinking of the kids. I can retire at 25 years and I plan on doing just that. It is not worth my health.

  107. As a teacher who is giving it up after 36 years, I wanted you to know I agree completely. Not only are we lining the pockets of the companies that are developing the tests, to the detriment of our future generations’ educations, but we are also lining the pockets of companies that sell their very expensive programs that “guarantee” to prepare our students to pass the STAAR to school districts who have had to cut teachers’ leave time, cut out employees step raises, and cut support staff to the bare bones . The main result I see of these programs, such as CSCOPE, is t raise the already sky-high stress level
    of teachers and students alike. The pace of instruction allows only touching on the surface with little time to scaffold learning for those who are struggling. There are tutorials in the morning before school and during the day, taking away P. E., athletics, band, choir, and art, from those who failed the TAKS last year or have “failed” the benchmark tests this year.
    Not every child wants to attend college or will be able to handle the challenges. Until those in power in educational circles balance the curriculum with courses that prepare students to make it in the work world, or prepare them for college, and let them make that choice.
    Germany is an example of a country that has a partnership of parents, student and school, who work together to plan the track that their student will follow. There is an advanced college track, for those who want advanced degrees or high level professional careers. There is a lower college track, and then the skilled-labor track where the student is trained in a skill that will enable them to earn a very substantial salary upon high school graduation.
    Friends from Australia were involved in a teacher exchange program several years ago, while Texas still had an exchange program contract with the state of Victoria. Even twenty years ago these Aussies were appalled by the amount of testing our students were put through. One of them stated that we tested our kids to death and didn’t leave any room real exploration and learning.
    I hope, for my grandkids’ sake and the sake of all other U. S. children, present and future, someone with the power to do something about the situation our educational system is in, will wake up and do something about it.

  108. Sorry about the typos in the former statement, I was writing on the fly between classes. Hope the message was more easily understood, than the typing.

  109. Teacher's Hubby

    Pearson is in EVERYTHING that has to do with the business of education. Pearson is making remarkable profits off of our tax-payer funded public education system. It’s worth making the point that these profits are going to a UK corporation – not even made in America!
    Pearson’s Assessment and Information Group has secured a $468.4 million, five-year extension of its contract to operate the TAKS testing program for the State of Texas. The contract renewal, awarded by the Texas Education Agency, took effect Sept. 1, 2001.
    Pearson’s Assessment and Information Group’s website lists 15 managers on its leadership team and excepting college and university teaching, lists only one of the 15 as having taught grades 6 & 7.
    From the financial highlights section of Pearson’s website:
    In Education, we expect to achieve continued growth in 2012. In North America, we anticipate modest growth in higher education as rapid take-up of our technology and services is partially offset by lower college enrolments and challenging conditions in the market for printed textbooks. We expect our Assessment and Information business to remain resilient as it prepares for the transition to next-generation Common Core assessments. We expect good growth in digital school programmes and services but another tough year for the School textbook publishing industry, which will continue to be affected by pressure on state budgets and delays in purchasing decisions during the transition to the new Common Core standards.

    Pearson’s Assessment and Information Group, based in Bloomington, Minn., is a division of Pearson Education Inc., the world’s biggest provider of textbooks and education materials, technology and services. Pearson Education is part of London-based media conglomerate Pearson PLC
    Pearson’s other primary non-education businesses include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group.
    Pearson not tests students, but provides the curriculum and is in the on-line instructional side as well.
    http://www.pearsonschool.com/index.cfm?locator=PSZ19o

    http://www.connectionsacademy.com/home.aspx

    “NEW YORK, Sep 15, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, is announcing today the acquisition of Connections Education from an investor group led by Apollo Management, L.P.

    Through its Connections Academy business, the company operates online or ‘virtual’ K-12 public schools in 21 states in the US–serving more than 40,000 students in the current school year. These virtual charter schools are accredited and funded by the relevant state and are free to parents and students who choose a virtual school in place of a traditional public institution or other schooling options”

    The CEO of Pearson talks at SXSW
    http://gettingsmart.com/news/sxswedu-brings-positive-discourse-to-edu-challenges-solutions/

    http://www.texasobserver.org/cover-story/the-pearson-graduate

    How private companies are profiting from Texas public schools

    In 1998, Pearson hired a new CEO from Texas, Marjorie Scardino. She joined a company with a diverse and haphazard set of interests; in addition to the Financial Times and Penguin Books, the mega-company owned everything from Madame Tussauds wax museums to a stake in investment bank Lazard. Scardino sought to focus the company on one broad industry—education. Soon after Scardino’s arrival, Pearson bought Simon & Schuster’s education businesses and opened a new, overarching company—Pearson Education. Two years later, in a controversial move, Pearson acquired the Minnesota-based testing company National Computer Systems for $2.5 billion and began expanding into assessments. By 2004, Scardino ranked 59th on Forbes’ list of the “100 Most Powerful Women in the World.” By 2009, she was 19th.

    Her timing was excellent. The education field was facing new and vehement demand for more testing and accountability in schools. Texas had been leading the way in state-mandated standardized testing, and by the time Pearson acquired National Computer Systems in 2000, the company had already signed a $233 million contract with the Lone Star State. With the passage of No Child Left Behind in 2001, all states were required to use a standard test to determine how students were learning. Pearson continued buying testing companies, including the testing services division of Harcourt. Last year, Pearson signed yet another contract with Texas to create the latest iterations of the state’s testing system, the new and more rigorous “end-of-course” and State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness exams.

    Pearson now creates the tools to grade the tests and the software to analyze student performance. That’s in addition to textbooks, remedial learning resources, GED courses and online classes. (Pearson officials refused comment for this story.)

    But despite Pearson’s prevalence in nearly every sector of public education, state officials say they maintain oversight. The Texas Education Agency monitors Pearson’s test development and often works side-by-side with the company. Gloria Zyskowski, the deputy associate commissioner, says the agency communicates with Pearson almost daily. She says that TEA uses a transparent bidding process to contract the work and follows a strict series of steps to build and score the tests. In creating test questions, the agency recruits teachers and former teachers to sit on an advisory committee. Pearson employees facilitate advisory committees, but the company isn’t writing the test questions by itself.

    But when the company—like many for-profits—wants to get its way in education policy, Pearson isn’t shy about deploying high-powered lobbyists. Pearson pays six lobbyists to advocate for the company’s legislative agenda at the Texas Capitol—often successfully. This legislative session, lawmakers cut an unprecedented $5 billion from public education, including funding for a variety of programs to help struggling students improve their performance on state tests. Despite the cuts, Pearson’s funding streams remain largely intact. Bills that would have reduced the state’s reliance on tests didn’t pass. The Texas Senate refused to pass any bills that would have diminished the role of testing, a stance some Capitol sources attribute to Pearson’s lobbying, while others give the credit to pressure from reform advocates.

    Who’s responsible may not matter. The interests of corporate lobbyists and reform advocates are often the same. It’s difficult to separate the businessmen from the believers.

    In a narrow sense, Pearson’s lobbying efforts simply reflect a company protecting its profits. But in a wider view, Pearson is part of a larger education-reform effort that seeks to improve public education through free-market principles. Often that means non-traditional educational approaches like charter schools and online learning. The movement includes a lot of earnest folks, eager to improve public schools and do what’s best for kids. But their efforts have earned a fortune for companies like Pearson. It’s become difficult to determine where the educating ends and the profit-making begins.

  110. I am certain that most teachers feel exactly as you do. For the past 5 years I have been a substitute teacher, and I have seen this testing process, and it intrudes on what a teacher really needs to do in classes, making less time to teach basics, such as the difference between ‘their’, ‘there’, and “they’re”, and ‘hear’ and ‘here’, and “you’re” and ‘your’. The result is a decline in the use of language, and the ability to communicate clearly.

  111. resigned teacher

    I just resigned my position teaching 8th grade science to go teach in a private school. My kids are already there because I have not wanted them in the current school environment where every decision is based on that test! Kids are lumped in 3 categories, those who will pass, those who won’t, and those who might. Everything is geared those the ones that might, leaving very little time and energy to expend to higher-level students. This is another of the test’s dirty little secrets. But I don’t think its going to get any better. Sorry to be pessimistic but the battle is not against flesh and blood but the rulers

  112. resigned teacher

    Sorry my last comment was cut short but I was just expressing my belief that there is no turning the testing tide. Parents are going to have to make tough decisions and sacrifices in a lot of situations to do what’s best for their children. It’s a shame.

  113. I would be GLAD to have to sit an hour to watch a stupid video because that would mean I still had MY teaching job. I knw from the 7th grade I wanted to teach and what I wanted to teach. Thanks to state funding last year, I’m not in the classroom this year and I have 27 years of experience. I would literally love to die at my desk. I LOVE the kids and miss them so much.

    Quit gripping about it and be glad you at least have the job you want.

    • resigned teacher

      With all due respect I believe the point is that this is ultimately a huge waste of the student’s time. In my experience those teachers who feel they must stay in the system just to draw a paycheck become very bitter. Teachers who are here really wanting to be effective in what they do can’t help but be bothered by all the double-speak and nonsensical dogma. I hope you find a job soon. I am sorry for your loss.

    • Melody,
      I’m so sorry that funding cut your job. With 27 years experience that doesn’t happen all that often, but when it does, it’s heart breaking. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not griping about the profession. Notice my tag line: I’m a teacher, and I love it. However, I WILL NOT EVER sit back quietly and allow businesses and government entities with an agenda to privatize public education to do so. If I were willing to “sit back and quit griping” that would make me a LOUSY example to my students and a LOUSY American. My heart breaks for you, but, in this, you are wrong. Not a little wrong. Not kind of wrong. Flat out wrong. Sitting back and not griping about the situation as it unfolded over the past 15 years is exactly what got us in this place. You feel free to sit back and not gripe; I’m going to do everything in my power to make a difference. Right now we have an enormous opportunity to make a change. From politicians to education researchers to neuropsychologists, people are realizing the test driven industry that has become the classroom is an abomination to education. They’re not sitting back. They’re speaking out. And I am right there with them. Last year I marched with thousands of teachers who’d been given pink slips due to budget constraints courtesy of the Texas Legislature. They weren’t sitting silent either. And while those protests didn’t stop the budget that so enormously hurt out schools, they did start a dialogue that has since grown into a roar. I’m doing my part to make sure everyone hears the message: business owners don’t have the answers, people who’ve never set foot in a public school but call themselves reformers don’t have the answers, testing companies don’t have the answers, politicians don’t have the answers. TEACHERS have the answers. But if we sit back quietly and let this happen without fighting with everything in us, no one will ever know the answers we have.

  114. Michelle Nelson

    Very interesting and so true!

  115. Thank you for saying (and saying it well!) what many of us teachers would like to say! All this testing is killing the ability to think. We’re creating our own dystopian future through these tests.

  116. I’m not a “teacher” employed at a school, but I am a mother of 5 amazing kids. I have always hated these tests being the determining factor for any child’s success and promotion to the next grade!! I thought that’s what chapter, end of 6 or 9 wks, and semester exams were for!!! Some kids do perfectly on these and their assignments but then choke on these standardized government approved tests and all that hard work and good grades are all for nothing!!! I’m also pretty sure all this takes away from REAL teaching in the classroom, as educators must teach to the “test” instead of what the kids should be learning and focusing on!!! To me all the government and these test makers are sending a clear message to our teachers and children, “all your hard work is not good enough and will never be good enough. Everything you worked so hard to earn and achieve means nothing- you mean nothing to us!!” not the message I want sent!!! Tired of seeing my kids stress over this stupidity!!!

  117. Wow, that is a lot of responses. I am not a teacher but I am concerned about education. I was wondering if anyone had seen the documentary WAITING FOR SUPERMAN? I think it is more about poor and low performing schools but I remember thinking that it was a great film.

    http://www.waitingforsuperman.com

    I have only seen the film but it seems that there is a lot on the website.

  118. Thank you I felt like I have been to church… Because it talks about things i am so compassionate about the students and my profession that never thought i would want to leave and now I feel like I am in a bad Harry potter movie. This would be an amazing speech and I would travel miles and miles to hear it!

  119. Have you been inside my head? I think so–Yes. I just spent two days “actively monitoring” 8 bright students who finished the test in at least half the allotted time. I was then instructed to have them sit at their desks, read or sleep until 3:45 or 3:20. We were scolded for being too loud during the lunch break where we had to stay in the testing room. All testing was done by 2:00 or earlier both days, but students were expected to remain in their seats another hour and a half! I just couldn’t do it. I allowed them to draw, stretch out on the floor, read on bean bags, play Parcheesi or Farkle or sleep if they chose. None of them chose to sleep. Today I did a number, thinking game with them after all testing in my hall was finished. Call me “Old School”, but after 37 years as an educator, I cannot stand by and see students abused by such totalitarian methods such as these. If I get written up, so be it. No testing regulations were ignored as far as I can read in all the hours of test administrator training attended. It just keeps getting crazier and crazier!!

    • Vicki,
      Every time I get comments like this, I am infuriated once again. We must do something to change this culture of testing, where answer sheets have taken the place of real learning. Those poor kids.

    • resigned teacher

      I have experienced the same exact thing the last 2 days! Keeping students locked in a room for hours like criminals! ! Their only crime was taking the STAAR test! I have already said this in a previous comment but it bears repeating: my kids are out of public school and I am finishing this year and will be right behind them. I’m not sitting back and letting my kids brains go to mush so the bubble kids will pass a test. I think a new strategy is needed in this fight. I am for vouchers and

  120. Let’s be Finland. Let’s encourage creativity, foster learning. Education isn’t filling a bucket, it’s lighting a spark, and we need to re-discover that fire. As a teenager, I see that kids hate school and have no taste of learning because of how monotonous it has become. We need to make them love learning again and show them how wonderful and important it is.

    • Nathan,

      Let’s encourage creativity, foster learning. Education isn’t filling a bucket, it’s lighting a spark, and we need to re-discover that fire.

      LOVE this!

  121. Thank you for the words that I just read. I just got through giving the new “STAAR” writing test to 37 innocent 4th graders that rushed through the test, and all that we have learned because they were told that it was timed. They went into panic mode and some said they were finished after 1-2 hours. We all need to make our voices heard. Thank you for putting your voice out there in more than “26 lines” of your paper, letting your creative thoughts flow, and your personality to be seen through the words of your composition.

    Thank You!

  122. Amen. As a college professor, let me tell you, we are seeing the worst students we have ever seen. An no, we do not blame the high school teachers. We blame the system they are forced to work in. Students come to us having never written a paper, never taken an essay exam and never failed anything. Suddenly, they are failing everthing because we don’t have “do overs” or “make-ups” and we don’t take work late and, horror of horrors, we don’t have to pass them. They are stunned that we expect them to actually think about their reading or follow instructions. If we do no change, and change drastically, what we do, we are going to have consequences we cannot begin to imagine. And, I am an IB examiner. Every year, without fail, some of the lowest scores I have are from the US. Not India or Croatia or Uganda–the US. What does that tell you?

  123. Amen, sister! I’m a teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and all of our department are completely overwhelmed and discouraged. I’d much rather spend my day teaching my students how to communicate, read, write, and become a functioning member of society rather than teach my students test taking strategies. Oh, did I mention the majority of my students have trouble communicating in sign language? English is technically their second language. So, let’s just give them a test in a language they don’t understand and tell them they failed. Great plan, Legislation! Okay, venting completed. I think everyone: parents, teachers, administration, and legislation should read this letter and change needs to begin now!

  124. I taught high school art in Houston for one year. I loved my students, I loved the subject I was teaching, and I feel like I could have been a really good teacher. I HATED my job. I hated that students were allowed by the administration to disregard due dates, dress codes, cell phone rules, etc. I hated that in middle of a really cool lesson, one of my “underachieving test takers” was pulled from my classroom to be drilled in test taking. I hated locking my students up for days at a time to administer PRACTICE TESTS! Not even real exams. Fake ones! We all had to sit quietly in a room taking a test that accounted for nothing. Meanwhile art projects, math skills, poetry, science experiments were all forgotten! I left the profession after the first year and have never regretted it. Now, I have two kids of my own and I pay an arm and a leg for private school – which we can’t really afford. I just can’t stand the thought of seeing my children molded into memorizing zombies with no ability for divergent and creative thinking by these “standardized tests.”

  125. Son of a Texas teacher and now married to one… All I can say is “Amen.”

  126. Public education is far from “Free”. It costs every American tax payer to fund it. It is not free in its practice either. Public school teachers HAVE to accomadate WHOMEVER shows up in their classroom each day. Public schools are opened each morning to a population of students as diverse as our nation. The content of the curriculum in public school is not free. It is constrained and prohibited from any mention of the Christian God and His Bible, yet anything else (from homosexuality, atheism, witchcraft, or any OTHER world religion) is tolerated and embraced.
    Now I will climb down from my soap box long enough to commend those teachers who are deeply commited to the educational success of every student they encounter. Politicians have little idea about the nature of the pedagogy and methodology involed in the teaching/learning process. It is both a science and an art. It is dynamic and challenging. I
    t is also a thing of wonder and beauty when executed well. Every politician should defer to educators about education.
    Many fine comments have been offered. How do we measure educational growth and success? From decades and decades the report card has been sufficient, as has the market place of work and the college and university systems. Why not allow educators to police educators? Why not empowering local cities and counties and states to mandate acceptable/unacceptable educational practice? Why not hold parents responsible for the children THEY send for educators to teach?

  127. AMEN to the letter & to all the responses! All educators feel this way BUT why are things not changing?? Why are the wrong people telling us what’s best in our classroom?? Why are legislators – most that haven’t set foot in a classroom since they graduated telling us what do!!! OH it is so frustrating! We need to start a grass roots effort to get things changed!! I teach math and I’m not worried so much about the test anymore but the new required TEKS that will be handed down to all grades – passing more algebra readiness down. So that they can be college ready?? Are there enough seats in college or jobs for all these college graduates they want??

    As I just read – we all got on our “soap box” on this one!! Let’s change things – how do we get that started!! We know better than those making the decisions!!

  128. So proud of you for taking a stand on this issue! Wasting time, effort, and money on this kind of testing is so foolish. Using God given good common sense in making decisions about our children is the right way.

  129. Problem is she addressed it to a bunch of bottom-feeding politicians who couldn’t’t hold a private sector job if their lives depended on it who are lead by a governor who functions at a sixth grade level and reads at a third grade level. There was no real educational crisis in this country until the for-profit testing companies cooked one up. The problem lies not with the schools or the teachers but with the parents who do not get involved with their kids education. There are high achievers coming out of the worst schools and failures coming out of the best. In comes down to personal responsibility.

  130. Legislators forget that deep school budget cuts (including Head Start) hurt the future work force.
    Great nations invest in their children.
    What is more important?

  131. 30 years as a teacher and loved being with the kids each day, but I’ve had it! Testing and all the “rigorous” hype about it has done me in. Burn out has taken hold of me and I truly pause to reflect and ponder how education got so off track. Follow the money trail. Businesses involved in classroom texts, workbooks, computer software, inservice trainig seminars, etc, etc. are thriving because of these tests, and they are not about to give that up. Wake up people! This testing is NOT about improving education; it is about the almighty dollar! What concerns me most is the masses just don’t or won’t stop it. We are lemmings.

    • When did we let them take over? Oh yeah, we allowed ourselves to be herded into schools to prove to Ross Perot that we could teach!! I was so impressed with my passing score because my bachelors or masters didn’t mean much in the eyes of money grubbing politicians who had $$$ eyes.

  132. I definitely have to agree about the testing. From my experience growing up and being educated in England, the Texas education system falls short in any type of testing. There is way too much emphasis on multiple choice questions. This seriously inhibits a child’s ability to critically think for themselves, especially in English, and when writing is required, complete sentences, spelling, and correct grammar usage are not often taken into account. Decent handwriting lessons are not even part of the curriculum anymore. I kept much of my school work from when I was my son’s age, and I see an enormous difference and it bothers me considerably that my son’s education is falling short of other westernized countries. I have even noticed it myself at college level, when students complain and are incapable of either conducting thorough research, or struggle writing a short 500 word essay, compared to 2000+ word essays required in almost any subject from 16-year olds in England.

  133. Maria D. Rougeau

    I agree 100%.

  134. Teachers need the ability to take control of students in their classrooms. Until teachers get to keep order in the classroom and have both the parents and “other professional” educators/administrators help…..education of the majority of children will suffer! The tests given, the monies spent and the manner as to how it is administered is questionable at best, but without some major change in attitudes of “wild” children and their parents the education of our children will be much less than it could be.

  135. Pingback: Jesus Creed » Teaching toward the Test

  136. This lady nailed it! I know so many educators who have felt this way for years.

  137. I/m trying to get into teaching, but can’t get passed the TeacherInsight test. After reading the posts, it’s probably just as well. Who has the power and authority to stop all this craziness? It MAKES NO SENSE!!!!

  138. This is my 13th year to teach. I have been back in the classroom for 3 years after being a stay-at-home mom. I am resigning once again because Texas education is out of control. The STAAR, our district uses Cscope-which is an insane curriculum, and the lack of respect from administrators, students and parents is unreal. It makes virtually impossible to enjoy any part of education. There is no freedom to teach and teachers are constantly scrutinized for every little thing. It saddens me to be resigning but my health, sanity and family are more important at this point.

    • Andrea,
      I’ve heard so many teachers say they’re leaving the classroom. It’s a shame. I hope we can make a difference this year with elections. I’m glad our admins let us teach, but the pressure of the TEST and only the test is insane.

  139. Cheryl Openshaw

    Just curious New Zealand Teacher,
    Does your country not only educate your own citizens but a huge influx of illegals for free? How about Sweden and Great Britain? Are you forced to include students who have no ability to speak your language into your averages? If so, then I agree with you that you can compare your system of education with ours. I think, however, you need to look at the whole picture before making this comparison.
    A teacher from the USA

  140. Pingback: Red4EdTX | A Writer's Life

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s