Once again it is the season to do the best thing for your student: opt them out of the testing mania obsession of the politicians.
For the sixth year my wife and I will be doing our part to keep the joy of learning instilled in our daughter -- she won't spend the next two weeks taking hours and hours of meaningless tests.
Let's be clear, this testing regimen is not about improving the education of our children: it is about money. If the Colorado Student Assessment Program tests were really about taking a "snapshot" to discover how schools were doing ... there wouldn't be weeks and months of CSAP "preparation" (that is "teaching to the test"), there wouldn't be CSAP rallies, contests and prizes, and the tests wouldn't extend over hours and many days -- they would be like a pop quiz and sample basic knowledge.
CSAP and the entire federally mandated standardized testing scheme is all about elected officials, education bureaucrats and politicians trying to justify the tax money they spend on a failing schooling system in Colorado and the nation.
And things are going to get worse. Indeed, the Obama administration in the arena of education is actually extending and amplifying the Bush 'No Child Left Behind' nationalization of education. The goal apparently is national standards, nationalized curriculum, national testing of students, national tracking of teachers, and national dependence upon federal funding. The traditional American notion of parents and local school boards -- those closest and most responsible for their own children -- making decisions and choices for their own kids is in the process of being destroyed.
In fact, the failure of the accountability and standardization theory was made clear once again just a few weeks ago by the report that 'nearly one in three Colorado graduates needs remedial courses in college' (Denver Post; Feb. 9, 2010). This is the concrete results of over a decade of schooling revolving around CSAP testing. Sadly, understanding how politicians and bureaucrats operate these days, their answer to this failure is -- doubling down on even more of the same.
So, my suggestion to parents is to do what is best for your own individual student -- not what you are told is best for the school or the school district or the state education department -- do what is best to encourage learning for your child. Opt-out of the CSAP test this year.
Sample opt-out letter at: www.theCBE.org