Home > Uncategorized > Retired Superintendent: Standardized Tests Are Stupid: My Grandsons Are Opting Out

Retired Superintendent: Standardized Tests Are Stupid: My Grandsons Are Opting Out

April 30, 2015

As a retired Superintendent I must confess to being in a quandary on this issue. When I was Superintendent in NH I advocated against VAM (see: https://waynegersen.com/2011/11/14/nclb-waivers/) and continue to do so today. However, my daughter notes that if my 4th grade grandson in NYC opts out he might jeopardize his placement for middle school because those test results are now part of the algorithm they use. She (and the PTO at her son’s school) are actively working to eliminate the testing… but in the meantime I believe she is doing what is best for her son by permitting him to take the tests. If she lived anywhere else in NYS I am sure her son would be at home. I’m also sure there are many parents like her in NYC, which might contribute to the lower opt-out rates in the city.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Jim Arnold, former superintendent of schools in Pelham, Georgia, explains why he encouraged his grandsons and their parents to opt out.

He writes:

“Just imagine the millions of dollars spent on standardized test development, scoring, actual testing, test training and test security that could be spent to hire new teachers, lower class sizes, restore art and music and elective classes, buy new school technology, books, materials, end furlough days or – gasp – give teachers a raise.

“Imagine an end to the silly insistence that standardized testing is the only way to hold teachers and schools accountable.

“Imagine the return of the authority of the classroom teacher to actually teach their students rather than follow a scripted test-centric routine designed not to improve teaching and learning but to improve test scores.

“Just imagine schools focused on taking students where they are educationally and socially and concentrating on teaching and learning…

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  1. Elyssa
    April 30, 2015 at 10:33 pm

    As I’ve said, we didn’t opt out, but we didn’t opt in either–kind of a middle way. He took the tests and we didn’t make a big deal of it.

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