I am writing to let you know that my fourth-grader will not be taking the TCAP test. This is unfortunate for her school because she scores in the advanced range every time.
Auria is in fourth grade at Northfield elementary in Murfreesboro, TN. This is our fourth year at this school, and between her and her sister, I have fallen in love with numerous teachers there. Murfreesboro has the best school system in the state (according to Google), and I have been highly impressed with the people and their level of care for my children.
Third grade changed, though. My highly-intelligent, confident kid became a wreck - early in the year - over the pressure associated with the TCAP. I was confused, as I took the TCAP every year as a child and have nothing but fond memories of bubbling in the little circles. I started to notice the growing intensity leading up to the test, and I became a little disgusted. That was last year. This year it was worse. The teachers I have had the pleasure of working with are so wound up that I feel sorry for them. The teachers, the staff, the administration...everybody.
These are obviously brilliant and creative people, and this test has taken over like a life-sucking monster. Teaching isn't an exact science, just like parenting. Every child is different, and this terrible system is stifling all the joy and creativity that is required to really make an impact.
Now, if I love this school and staff so much, and I know her test scores would attribute to an average boost ($$$), why would I pull her from this? She wants to be a teacher when she grows up. These teachers are already being grossly underpaid for such an important role.
"Pearson is America's largest corporate maker of standardized testing. It has a multiyear contract with our Department of Education: For creating and implementing the TCAP and the end-of-course tests for high schoolers, we pay more than $150 million. (That's three times what it would have cost to give Tennessee teachers a 2 percent raise.) The deepest cut of all? Teachers aren't able to preview the test. They are neither editor nor author of the single most influential test of the whole year. It's the educational equivalent of a slap in the face."
- David Cook (Times Free Press)
Auria can already make better decisions than this.
My child's job is to learn. The teacher's job is to teach. But my role as her parent is more complicated. I also have to teach her when standing up for something is necessary. This system is stupid and unfair. She will be accepting a 0 as 15% of her grade for the year. But she will also be standing up for teachers and students all over the state. She will be taking steps toward bettering her future right now, and I think that's better than just a memory of all those bubbles.
Thank you for your time reviewing this matter,
- As a teacher in metro, I love you!
- Wow! Seems I'm not alone about my TCAP feelings! Kuddos to this mom!!!
- The pressure for students, teachers, and parents is so unfair. It makes me so sad.
- This is so beautiful. It's a must read for all parents and students.
- Maybe more parents should jump on this bandwagon!!! I would love to shake her hand and meet her in person!
- Incredible parent and letter! Hope someone listens! Something to think about where we are heading for the future of education for the little ones. Lets put Common Sense back in Education and worry bout the little ones not which pocket is getting thicker!!!!
- How many letters like this will it take to change things?
- Simply the truth. I am forbidden by law from seeing, asking or being told what is on the test my kids take. Ever. We never see the old tests. We cannot challenge bad questions...and trust me, the practice tests have bad questions. Parents can also never see the tests. Just try and ask, even after it is given. I have yet to have a teacher's edition grammar book that did not have a wrong answer or horribly confusing practices. It happens, but now who is double checking? My kids will do well...they always do me proud in a pinch, but this is beyond ridiculous. Pearson controls education in Tennessee. Get over the outrage over the feds/Common Core (for now) and ask why in the Hell a private company gets to determine kids' grades and teachers' fates with ZERO oversight.
- May do this next year. Zac is flipped out about TCAP.
- This sums up my feelings on standardized testing word for word!!!!!!!
- I love how you just stand up for things that are unjust without ANY hesitation and I respect the heck out of that! TCAP tests and the like are the reasons why I did not complete my certification as a secondary educator. It's an unfair system that pigeon-holes children into measurable data. You, Alicia Maynard, are a beautiful soul and a wonderful mother. Thank you for standing up for teachers and for teaching your children to stand up for their generation of learners.
- I applaud this mother and think it would be awesome to boycott this stupid standardized testing
Across Tennessee, the news media is reporting on this movement. Click the links below to see these recent stories:
Momma Bears of TN:
Common Core and the inseparable requirements of the Race to the Top contract require even MORE testing, including benchmark tests and probably the PARCC (which is a much more difficult, time-consuming, and stressful test than TCAP is).
Legislators: Parents need a law that gives us the legal option to protect our children by Opting-Out of standardized tests. Other states have this law. Tennessee needs it, too. Parents should be able to decide what is best for our children. Private school and home-school students don't have to take these tests, so why are our public school children forced to do them?
School Board members & Superintendents: Some districts in TN (like Metro Nashville) allow parents to refuse standardized tests for their children without penalizing the child, teacher, or school. Even though TN does not yet have an Opt-Out law, the state, at this time, allows districts to decide without penalty (See this document and see how the Metro Nashville School District handles parents who wish to refuse testing for their children). Locally elected school boards have the authority to set policies regarding testing and the rights of parents to refuse these tests for their children. Please, listen to the parents.
Parents know what is best for their children. We know better than the Pearson corporation, better than the government, and better than any standardized test ever created. We trust our children's teachers to fairly assess our children's progress.
& School Boards:
Pay for more teachers, not more tests.