After House Bill 2214 was submitted to the state Senate, I did something I never do. I wrote a letter to my senators, begging them to move forward on the bill, and at least stem the tide of the ridiculous amount of standardized testing currently being asked of Washington students to prove themselves graduation worthy.
My concern with this type of testing, and why I hoped the Senate might actually take some forward action, was summed up quite well in one particular line from Sen. Becker’s email response: “Generally speaking, what one person may see as difficult state testing is seen by another as a way to measure the ability of public schools to produce graduates who are ready for either college or careers.”
This line demonstrates the flaw with our current system and the need for some sane action to take place. The target is clear here – the goal is not to set a standard level of academic achievement, but instead to create another means to attack public education. This statement alone justifies the need to uncouple these tests from students’ graduation.
Experienced and new teachers alike are leaving the profession in droves (my district has now had record turnover for three years running) in an effort to land somewhere where teaching is still about student’s growth and learning, not just spending all year attempting to teach the students to take a test to prove that we’re doing our jobs effectively.