Fast Focus: 'Should children be encouraged to opt-out of standardized tests?' Individual learners

April 20, 2014 

In reading your editorial reference to the WEA advising parents to have their children opt-out of standardized tests, it appears to me that you are more concerned with the fact that the WEA is enlisting the help of the parents than the fact that they don't want the students to participate in the standardized testing. What's wrong with this picture? Usually, the most frequent complaint is that parents don't get involved enough with their child's education. Then when encouraged to do so, you complain about that. You can't have it both ways.

Personally, I'm not a big fan of standardized testing to begin with. Kids aren't punched out of cookie cutters endowed with the same abilities and attributes. I do not think Common Core should be instituted into our schools. I don't think the government should concern itself with how our children are educated. That's not its job. I am a firm believer that each student is an individual and is possessed with specific abilities -- some better, some not as good as the other students. I think that it is OK to flunk a child if he or she is not doing well in school. Children, and adults too for that matter, mature at different rates. Some just aren't ready, or don't have the ability to advance at the same rate as others. Giving each student a standard test to determine if the school district, the individual school, or the teacher is doing their job seems like an unreasonable expectation to me. And by your own admission, these standardized tests have a potential for bias and racial discrimination. Why would anybody want to initiate that type of testing to begin with?

I think they need to re-evaluate what they teach and how. I have grandchildren that tell me they spend up to three weeks prior to a state test being given just learning how to take the test. That's three weeks the teacher could have been teaching the three "Rs." Keep the standardized testing to factory quality control. That will give us better consumer products. It won't give us better students.

-- ED KENNELLY, Pasco

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