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Kindergarten Horror from Pearson

Ohanian Comment: I post this research-based opt out letter--from kindergarten testing-- with the permission of the writer, herself an experienced kindergarten teacher. There are numerous outrages here. Think about three:

1. Jan. 2013 Improving student performance to ensure that all students graduate prepared for success in college and career is mission critical for today's schools. . . Pearson announced the new aimsweb, the next generation of the powerful system that integrates assessment, data management and reporting and provides decision-making tools for achieving this important goal. Available fall 2013, the new aimsweb is student-centric, intuitive, data-driven and dynamic.--Pearson press release

2. Such timed tests are given--despite strong statements of experts that such tests are invalid.

3. This opt-out request was denied and the kindergartner was tested.


Bad things done in the name of career- and college-readiness are still bad things. The first step toward The Revolution should be banning the terms career and college-ready from all communication about schools and what they do. Teaching is about doing what's right for children today.


Dear ____

First, please let me express my excitement that my daughter has been placed in your classroom. Her father and I are trilled that our children will be able to attend the same school that we graduated from ourselves, and in our beloved community of Stowe, Vermont. We look forward to a positive relationship with the school for many years to come.

However, I need to make a request to protect the emotional and intellectual well-being of my child. I would be remiss as a mother if I allowed her to be subjected to a timed, standardized, norm-referenced assessment such as Aimsweb in her primary years. I cannot allow this to happen , and therefore I am respectfully requesting that she not be forced to participate. A timer has no pace in primary education. This practice goes against my personal belief that childhood is a journey, not a race, and my professional belief that developmentally appropriate practice is always the 'best practice."

There are several educational professionals, practitioners, researchers, and organizations that firmly agree with this sentiment. The esteemed organization of NAEYC believes that such data is only 50% accurate in children under the age of eight. The respected co-author of the PNOA, Loree Silvas, has stated on several occasions that, "The use of timers is detrimental to the learning process." so I challenge that the benefits of inaccuratr data do not outweigh the potential harm. May I also suggest reading the article that I have attached to this letter.

I am going into my 10th year as a full-day kindergarten teacher. I spent 2 years working in special education. OI have taught toddlers, preschoolers and afterschool programs. I have a Master of Education degree as well as Bachelor degrees in both Elementary Education and Psychology. I have seen children urinate from stress, rub their hands raw with anxiety, and burst into tears from the pressure of being timed during Aimsweb benchmarking. I cannot allow my child's emotional or intellectual development to be harmed in any way.

I look forward to a positive response ensuring me that my request will be honored, and I do not have to fear for my child's safety.


— Melissa Ramsey




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