There’s a columnist for the Metroland weekly newspaper, Miriam Axel-Lute, who wrote on her Facebook page the middle of last month: “Good luck to all the parents and kids who are refusing this crazy high stakes testing tomorrow. Stand strong.” My daughter had been stressing over these same tests, but I was unaware of this “opt-out” thing. I replied, “Damn test is ticking me off.” She then asked me and a few others: “Would you guys talk to a Metroland reporter about this? I’m going to be opinionated about it in my column next week, but I think they are also interested in maybe doing a reported news story.” Another guy said likewise, adding “Albany schools get enough unwarranted BS, and removing my kids from the mix will cause more.” True enough; if fewer than 95% of the kids take the test, the school could be taken over by the state, as I understand it.
This is how busy I am lately: I received a Google Alert on April 25 based on ‘Roger Green’. Usually, it’s some OTHER Roger Green, but in this case, it was the story for which I was interviewed by phone the previous week. Also in that issue: Miriam’s column on opting out.
I hope it’s clear that I believe my daughter would/will probably do well on the test. It’s just that someone lied to my child that she’ll otherwise flunk third grade, and this caused her undue stress, which really ticked me off. We HAVEN’T opted to opt out – yet – because it’s unclear what it would mean to my child. Would she sit in the classroom silently for 70 minutes at a time while others take the test? Would there be some type of retribution against her? Indeed, after the fact, I worried about participating in the article.
Also, my wife’s teaching schedule – she’s an iterant teacher of English as a Second Language – has been mightily disrupted. If I thought the end was worth it, I wouldn’t complain. But this No Child Left Behind/Race To the Top stuff, to my mind, is bogus.