Twas the Night Before State Testing: My Son Wants Me to Exempt Him

Mr. O and Mr. T have their first day of state testing tomorrow and they are STRESSED. They had a tough time going to sleep--well, only one of them is sleeping. Mr. O has popped out of their room several times since their 9 p.m. quarantine time.

"Do I have to take the test tomorrow?" he asked.

"Yep, you do."

After a minute of back and forth--him saying "but why?" and me saying "because"--he asked, "Can't you just write that letter saying I don't have to take it?"

Yeah, Mr. O wants me to write a letter exempting him and send it to school with him tomorrow. "I feel like I'm going to throw up," he said. I made him some tea and sat with him for a little while. He told me he's just tired of test prep and hearing about the test and how nervous the teachers are. 

Me too. And it doesn't matter how much I tell him to do his best and just "show what you know", he just looks checked out of the whole thing. "Shouldn't school be over after we take it? It's all the schools care about anyway."

Now he's trying to go back to sleep and I'm asking myself, how exactly did we get to this place where one test becomes the end-all-be-all of an entire year? The kids don't like the tests. The teachers don't like it. Why can't we just get rid of them--scale them back so my kid and everyone else's can reconnect with learning, not testing.


Anonymous said…
I'm a California teacher and I'm in favor of exempting kids. I think the state tests are a form of child abuse - all that pressure and stress, for what? So bureaucrats can tally up numbers? My child is starting kinder next year and I will be exempting her every year. If all (or most, or even a LOT of) parents exempted their kids, the numbers wouldn't mean a damn thing (like they actually do?) and the state would have to rethink this b.s.
April said…
One of these days, I would love to see 100% NON-participation in standardized tests. It's a billion-dollar industry that is running our entire education system and it has to stop.
Liz Dwyer said…
Anonymous CA Teacher,
When I look at my my two son's faces when they talk about the test they certainly do start to feel like child abuse. The thing is, how do we exempt our kids when there are such severe consequences for teachers and schools if they don't take them?

Yep, if we could shift all the testing money over to music and art education kids would be so much better off.

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