Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home


Four Seattle Teachers Declare 'We Refuse to Give the Tests'

Publication Date: 2015-01-31

Four Seattle area teachers who got to know one another in 2011, when they all attended the Save Our Schools march in Washington, DC, stood before the Renton Board of Education and read "statements of professional conscience" in which they pledged their refusal to administer standardized tests to their students. Their names are Julianna Krueger Dauble, Judy Dotson, Susan DuFresne and Becca Ritchie.

These statements were delivered to the Renton School District Board of Education and appeared on
Living in Dialogue
, Jan. 28, 2015


By Susan DuFresne

As a kindergarten teacher I am an early childhood educator. As a professional I am responsible for their very first experience in our schools -- and working with a group larger than their own family. I take the responsibility for making that initial experience in school positive -- one where children feel safe and loved, where their individual curiosity, talents, and potential are nurtured â" where each child develops a love of learning. Over the years, I learned this gift is what parents value in me as their child's first teacher. If our parents knew what we were doing to their children in our schools, I think they would be alarmed.

As a special and general education teacher, I love the challenge of finding each child's strengths and unlocking the key to their challenges, helping them grow socially and academically as whole children. From gifted students who read at a 4th grade level in kindergarten to those who will not learn their letters by the end of the year due to neurological issues that impact their ability to learn -- I know they all come to learn something new. As a teacher, I get to know each unique child. Each child comes to me with an empty rice bowl hungry for new and different knowledge. Feeding them all the same standardized diet does harm. Children are neither standard nor common. Why are we taught to differentiate our instruction, yet forced to administer standardized tests? This doesn't make any sense and isn't best practice.

I work to give my students joy every day and know that research shows ALL children learn how to learn through play, a well-rounded curriculum with art, music, theater, movement, and games that provide a varied diet for multiple intelligences rather than one-size-fits-all. But now, the agony of this increasing testing has for the first time, moved down to pre-school and kindergarten. Instead of joy and a love for learning, our 5 year olds experience test anxiety and are labeled as failures. How can a 5 year old be labeled as a failure already?

Building, district, and state mandated testing strip our children of the exact experiences they need. In kindergarten almost all testing is done one-on-one, losing valuable instructional time and expecting 5 year olds to work independently and quietly for hours at a time. WA Kids takes hours at the beginning of the year when it is important to develop relationships and establish routines. This is not best practice. Nor are the bubble tests for kindergartners. I was mandated to administer a WELPA bubble test lasting an hour and ½ last year to children just learning English. Several students cried, begging me to stop, saying "Mrs. DuFresne, this is too hard. I want to go home." I wanted to go home too.

For these reasons, I cannot remain silent.

Teachers constantly use data of a different sort to drive instruction. Kids do not come standardized, nor should they, and the individual data a teacher gathers on a child is in the context of their relationship and classroom based assessments. The teacher who knows each and every student and the precise moment in which to intervene as they tackle a multi-step algorithm; the educator who can sense from a child's posture the exact tone to use to engage them on a difficult task; the moment when a student needs you to believe in them and spend that extra moment to provide specific positive feedback so they will try harder next time vs. when to be quiet and let them lead; using the weekly quiz that shows exactly which skill is not quite mastered and leads the teacher to planning a lesson and finding new materials the following day to fill that gap; these are teacher behaviors and they all mean using real data to help kids.

We do NOT need this standardized assessment to measure achievement when it is apparent every single day. A one-day snapshot of a childâs performance is not at all indicative of that childâs overall learning progression. Students one day are at mastery and not the next. This is human. The student who comes to school hungry or sad or is distracted by friendship issues on the SBA day? Failure. The child who can't type as fast or as accurately as his peers? Fail. The kids who canât read a screen as well as a piece of paper because they forgot their glasses or have tired eyes? Failure. The anxiety ridden children who literally pull their hair out because of the pressure to perform? Fail. The students who don't care about a test their teacher hasn't created and which doesn't mean anything to them because it isn't connected to anything they care about? Failures. I empathize with the kids who know they will fail and cry during the assessment. For those kids, we are the failures for making them endure this.

Diane Ravitch said: "Sometimes, the most brilliant and intelligent minds do not shine on standardized tests because they do not have standardized minds."

When our leaders raise learning standards and increase testing requirements because students are graduating from high school without skills that businesses need we must remember these leaders are not teachers. [This is a bogus claim and should not be given credence. I am not sure how to fix this. Let's think about it.]These leaders seem to have contempt for teaching the whole child when they ignore our cries for support and resources that kids need to be READY to learn. We have cut counselors, nurses, art, music, extracurricular activities, behavior support, classroom aides, field trips, and most of all TIME for teachers to plan good instruction. Instead we have been given MORE duties for data collection, evaluation rubrics, more tests that are not aligned with our curriculum or student's developmental needs, leadership duties, technology tasks, pacing guides that are literally impossible to follow, error-riddled tests that change often, report cards that do not match standards, new standards without training and a total lack of quality curriculum while our students are needier than ever.

This reality is unconscionable and I cannot remain silent.

I ask others to stand up with me for children and our future.

Thereby,
I object to the latest iteration of No Child Left Behindâs failed policy called the Smarter Balanced Assessment which goes against my professional conscience.

I object to the inhumane test environment imposed upon us by people who believe schools should be run like businesses and students like commodities. This single test will rank and sort children so that labels of failure may be applied and the door will open for takeover of public schools by private interest groups in the name of 'accountability'.

I object to treating my students like guinea pigs in an experiment that has not produced any real learning gains but will increase drop-out rates, decrease motivation and will increase anxiety disorders leading to what we've already seen: increased suicide among teenagers for the incredible pressure they are put under.

I object to how computers are monopolized for weeks at a time for the sake of testing young children; tech Levy voters believed their dollars would be spent on learning not standardized testing.

I object to the use of Pearsonâs set "cut-scores" predicting â" of our kids. These scores will not inform our instruction but will discourage the incredibly hard-working school staff and diminish brave innovation in coming school years.

I object to the lack of trust in classroom experts which has been replaced by faith in test publishers devoid of teaching experience and who deny the whole child's uniqueness.

I object to the time stolen as SBA becomes the main goal of my reading, writing and math instruction, thus eliminating project based learning, health, social studies, the arts, physical education, music and social/emotional lessons.

I object to the fact that SBA will force more kids to drop out which will increase poverty; by failing this test students will lose faith in their individuality, self-worth and higher education or career prospects. Confidence is key to perseverance.

I object to the use of SBA or any standardized assessment that directly correlates to family income. Students of color, English learners, and those with low socio-economic status are disproportionately harmed by standardized testing and yet we continue to increase it--often IN THE NAME OF CLOSING THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP. This is ludicrous.

I object to the lack of transparency on SBA test items and scoring mechanisms; that teachers and parents are not permitted to view the test or the answers their students write is insulting to the people who know a child best. Teacher assessment data and report cards are disregarded by accountability 'experts' who strive to label students for their own purposes.

I object to the misuse of precious revenue spent on SBA scoring, on practice tests, on required test materials, on contracts with test-prep corporations' consultants and on staff time for training to teach to the test as well as training for administering the test. Funding has been cut for counselors, nurses, planning time for teachers, behavior support staff, playground supervision & equipment, libraries, field trips and safety plans and still we have increasing class sizes. Follow the money on who is profiting from SBA as it is not in the public's best interest to give tax dollars to profit-makers who view children as voiceless consumers from which profits are earned.

I object to how financial backers for the corporate takeover of education are funding campaigns for candidates who will support SBA testing using billions of dollars earned on the backs of workers who live in poverty and whose children are harmed by this test.

I object to the undemocratic process of adopting SBA and the Common Core State Standards whereby members of society, notably parents and educators, have not been engaged in ethical discourse around the ultimate purpose of public education and whether or not new standards may or may not solve the real problems impacting education.

I object to the SBA as it has been marketed; it is designed to prepare workers for a competitive global economy. Who can defend the social and environmental impacts of our current economic practices? Our path as a nation is focused on profits, not human rights or ecological sustainability. If the SBA was designed for perpetuating our exploitative economic practices, then many of us are morally obligated to renounce the test itself. Students have a right to an excellent public school education to learn to solve massive problems such as income inequity, not perpetuate them.

I object to the unprecedented practice of increased unnecessary testing, standardized testing from Pre-K to grade 12 including the WaKIDs Teaching Strategies GOLD, WELPA, DIBELs, CogAT, STAR, SRI, all high stakes testing, and the latest iteration of No Child Left Behind's failed policy: the Smarter Balanced Assessment all of which go against my professional conscience.

I object to forcing young children to sit through hours of bubble tests when they donât even understand what they are doing and why they are doing it. This is inhumane.

I object to expecting young children to wait to learn "working independently" for hours while their teacher is forced to test other students one-on-one -- test after test after test.

I object to children who are just learning to speak, read, and write in English being forced to take standardized tests using English academic language and culturally biased language. This too is inhumane.

I object to forcing children with special needs to take standardized grade level tests when they have already proven to be 1 ½ to 2 years behind typical peers via a formal evaluation using standardized tests.

Therefore I professionally object to administering the SBA. Our students deserve better. This being said, please select one of the options below. Thank you.

____ Susan DuFresne, Your concerns are noted and valued and you will be allowed to opt out of administering the SBA without any retribution.
OR
____ Susan DuFresne Your concerns are noted and your professional conscience is being discounted. Administration in this building or district requires you to administer the SBA despite your objections and the harm, outlined in the narrative, that children will experience.

by Becca Ritchie
6th grade teacher at Nelson Middle School


Martin Luther King said "Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak"

"A time comes when silence is betrayal."

I am an accomplished educator recognized by the Renton Chamber of Commerce twice with the Ahead of the Class award in 2007 and 2013, the Seahawks/Symetra Hero in the classroom in 2012 and the Mariners Teacher of the Week in 2013. I have been a part of our SIT/Leadership through the years and am currently the chair of our Site-Based Council as well as our department chair for the Nelsen creative arts team. I am committed to all students in our school achieving success. I encourage policies that will support the students in our school to develop into citizens of Renton who think critically, problem solve and become the future of our city. I support students when they explore and consider what their future will hold. I help students find confidence to try, and sometimes fail, as they learn and grow.

I, as a professional, assess my students continually in my class. I know which of my students struggle and I find creative ways to engage them to continue to try. In the past few years, students come into my class with their own preconceived notions of a label. I have had students tell me "I am a 1. I will always be a 1." These students go into the test, no matter what I tell them, how much I encourage them or how prepared they are, thinking that they will fail. These are eleven and twelve year olds. No child should consider their self a failure, especially at this tender age. Adolescent angst is challenging enough without the system, which has been underfunded to help these children for decades, delivering a blow to their self esteem. By ignoring the world around these children and using a snapshot of one day in their life to rank and cull them, we are doing them a grave injustice.

Teachers constantly use data to drive instruction. Kids do not come standardized, nor should they, and the individual data a teacher gathers on a child is in the context of the relationship, the child's readiness level and many classroom factors. The teacher who knows each and every student and the precise moment in which to intervene as they tackle a multi-step algorithm; the educator who can sense from a child's posture the exact tone to use to engage them on a difficult task; when a student needs you to believe in them and spend that extra moment to provide specific positive feedback so they will try harder next time vs. when to be quiet and let them lead and take a risk; using the weekly quiz that shows exactly which skill is not quite mastered and guides the teacher to plan a lesson and find new materials to try to teach another way; these are teacher behaviors relying on relevant data to help kids learn.

We do NOT need standardized tests to measure achievement. A one-day snapshot of a child's performance is not indicative of authentic learning. Students may show mastery on a standard one day and not the next. This is human. The student who comes to school hungry or sad or is distracted by friendship issues on SBA day? Failure. The child who can't type as fast or as accurately as his peers? Fail. The kids who can't read a screen as well as a piece of paper because they forgot their glasses or have tired eyes? Failure. The anxiety ridden children who literally pull their hair out because of the pressure to perform? Fail. The students who don't care about a test their teacher hasn't created and which doesn't mean anything to them because it isn't connected to anything they care about? Failures.

Diane Ravitch said: "Sometimes, the most brilliant and intelligent minds do not shine on standardized tests because they do not have standardized minds."

External accountability is a need acknowledged by many people, understandably. But standardized testing has not been shown to improve achievements. Humans are not standardized.

Students cannot realize their full potential at school when we have cut counselors, nurses, art, music, extra curricular activities, behavior support, classroom aides, science materials, field trips, and most of all cut sacred TIME for teachers to plan innovative instruction. With No Child Left Behind teachers have been assigned more duties for student data collection, we must fulfill new evaluation rubric requirements, we are handed still more tests that are not aligned with curriculum or studentâs developmental needs and are riddled with errors, we have additional certification requirements that take time away from classroom work, we are expected to perform new leadership duties, we must navigate new technology without training or working equipment, we have to teach to pacing guides that are often impossible to follow, we somehow complete report cards thoughtfully even though they do not match new standards and the new tests, and we still must learn what the new standards even mean without any time to do so thoughtfully; and all this with a lack of high-quality aligned curricular materials while our students come to school needier than ever. This is not just a workload issue. This is literally driving teachers out of the profession.

This reality is unconscionable and I cannot remain silent.
I ask others to stand up with me for children and our future.

Thereby,

I object to the latest iteration of No Child Left Behindâs failed policy called the Smarter Balanced Assessment which goes against my professional conscience.

I object to the inhumane test environment imposed upon us by people who believe schools should be run like businesses and students treated like commodities. SBA will rank and sort children so labels of failure may allow takeover of public schools by privatizers in the name of 'accountability'.

I object to the undemocratic process of adopting SBA and Common Core State Standards whereby educators and parents were not consulted. We are not being asked about what we believe is the ultimate purpose of education nor on the need for new tests and standards.

I object to treating students like guinea pigs in an experiment that has not produced any real learning gains but will increase drop-out rates, decrease motivation and continue to increase chances of suicide among teenagers for the incredible pressure they are put under to master content a mile wide and an inch deep.

I object to how computers are monopolized for weeks at a time for the sake of testing young children; tech Levy voters believed their dollars would be spent on learning not standardized testing. Further, private student data is often commercially available to private companies; yet school districts and especially parents are unaware of how a student's data profile is being used.

I object to the use of Pearson's set "cut-scores" predicting â" of kids will fail. Such 'failure' will discourage incredibly hark-working students and teachers which may diminish their classroom innovation in coming school years.

I object to the lack of trust in classroom experts which has been replaced by faith in test publishers devoid of teaching experience and who deny a child's uniqueness.

I object to the time stolen as SBA becomes the main goal of my reading, writing and math instruction, thus eliminating project based learning, health, social studies, the arts, physical education, music and social/emotional lessons.

I object to the fact that SBA will force more kids to drop out which will increase poverty; by failing this test students will lose faith in their individuality, self-worth and higher education or career prospects. Confidence is key to perseverance.

I object to the use of SBA or any standardized test that directly correlates to family income. Students of color, English learners, and those with low socio-economic status are disproportionately harmed by standardized testing and yet testing continues to increase in the name of closing the achievement gap. This is ludicrous.

I object to the lack of transparency on SBA test items and scoring mechanisms; that teachers and parents are not permitted to view the test or the answers their students write is insulting to the people who know a child best. Teacher assessment data and report cards are now being disregarded by accountability âexpertsâ who seek to label students for their own purposes.

I object to forcing young children to sit through hours of bubble tests when they donât even understand what they are doing and why they are doing it. This is inhumane.

I object to expecting young children to "work independently" for hours while their teacher is forced to test other students one-on-one -- test after test after test.

I object to children who are just learning to speak, read, and write in English being forced to take standardized tests using English academic language and culturally biased language. This too is inhumane.

I object to forcing children with special needs to take standardized grade level tests when they have already proven to be 1 ½ to 2 years behind typical peers via a formal evaluation using standardized tests.

I object to the misuse of precious revenue spent on SBA scoring, on practice tests, on required test materials, on contracts with test-prep corporations' consultants and on staff time for training to teach to the test as well as training for administering the test. Funding has been cut for counselors, nurses, planning time for teachers, behavior support staff, playground supervision & equipment, libraries, field trips and safety plans and still we have increasing class sizes. Follow the money on who is profiting from SBA as it is not in the publicâs best interest to give tax dollars to profit-makers who view children as voiceless consumers from which profits are earned.

I object to how financial backers for the corporate takeover of education are electing candidates who will support SBA by funding campaigns using billions of dollars earned on the backs of workers who live in poverty and whose children are harmed by this test.

I object to the SBA as it has been marketed; it is designed to prepare workers for a competitive global economy. Who can defend the social and environmental impacts of our current economic practices? Our path as a nation is focused on profits, not human rights or ecological sustainability. If the SBA was designed for perpetuating our exploitative economic practices, then many of us are morally obligated to renounce the test itself. Students have a right to an excellent public school education to learn to solve massive problems such as income inequity, not perpetuate them.

In conclusion, I believe students need to be prepared for whatever life path they choose; expecting every child to graduate high school with a nearly identical and narrow skill set is un-American and unacceptable. SBA is a critical tool used to ensure that schools are lockstep with a forcibly mandated, top-down education agenda that was not agreed upon by the most important constituents: parents, students and the classroom experts.

Therefore I professionally object to administering the SBA. Our students deserve better.

This being said, please select one of the options below. Thank you.

____ Becca Ritchie, Your concerns are noted and valued and you will be allowed to opt out of administering the SBA without any retribution.

OR

____ Becca Ritchie, Your concerns are noted and your professional conscience is being discounted. Administration in this building or district requires you to administer the SBA despite your objections and the harm, outlined in the narrative, that children will experience.


By Judy Dotson

I come from a family of low-income, minimally educated parents. My mother's education ended at the equivalent of 7th grade. She had 13 brothers and sisters. They were a farm family. Hard work was their life. She was hired out to work for a wealthy family as a housekeeper, nanny, and cook when she was just 14.

My dad had the privilege of graduating high school and spent the rest of his adult life working in the shipyard in Bremerton. He was a great mechanic, fiddle player and whistler.

They were born just after the turn of the century; 1902 and 1905.

When I was a senior in high school, a counsellor told me that it was a good thing my parents lived in low income housing and couldn't afford to send me to school. Why? Because, he said, I just wasn't college material. Maybe, if I somehow managed to find a way to attend college, I could be a teacher and teach home economics. That an educator would say something so derogatory about his chosen profession still amazes me.

The implication of his words was loud and clear, however: you, Judy, are not smart enough to succeed in college. You, Judy, should not expect much of yourself and you won't be so disappointed when you don't make it.

You might think that was a horrible thing to say to a kid at that age. Don't bother to try. You'll never make it. Just accept that you're a level 1. Deal with it.

Now, I was almost 18 years old when I was told that my destiny was to be a level 1 forever. Not 9, 10, 11. Not 5 or 6.

Race forward to the present. With all of the wide ranging knowledge we adults have gained, we're now telling our students, "You're not going to pass the test. You'll be a level 1; a failure". Really? There is not a parent or grandparent in this room that would EVER say or do that to their child/grandchild.

All of us in this room tonight have a common goal: a well-rounded, positive, gratifying education for our children. It doesn't matter if that education leads to a college degree or a master mechanic, electrician, plumber -- it doesn't matter. We want -- we EXPECT --teachers not only to teach our children but to do it in a positive, caring, enjoyable manner. For that to be the reality for our kids, all of us here tonight must be committed to that goal.

Standardized testing is not going to get us there. Standardized testing is demeaning and punitive. It has the potential to damage a young childâs still fragile self-esteem.

There are kids who want to take the test because they want the challenge. These are the kids who'll go on to be successful no matter what. They have a high self-esteem, strong self-confidence and a strong EQ (emotional quotient). It's the other children about whom I'm most concerned.

Not everyone has this spirit though -- especially when they're only 9 or 10 years old and come from a position of poverty. They already think they can't/won't make it. They have no hope. They have no dream. For some it's fear of failure, lack of developmental readiness, or other reasons. They just want out.

We -- educators, administrators, education supporters -- must give them that hope. We must dare them to dream and provide the support that will allow them to take that step toward success and intellectual fulfillment.

I am a teacher. I am a professional in a profession that is, often times, not recognized as one. I love teaching, I love learning. Sharing my love of learning with others and seeing that love blossom in them is an amazing, wonderful experience. Having the time to talk one-on-one with a student who (says)s/he hates math (or science or reading) and is no good at "school", what I really hear is that s/he has learned that s/he is not good at learning. As educators, we can help those children. We can give them the confidence to take the chances toward meeting their dream. We can have the time necessary to have those conversations, to hear what our children are saying -- their fears, concerns, desires.

My colleagues addressed the needs of these still maturing children. I'll not reiterate them. But, know that many more than those who are speaking here tonight, feel as we do. I hear it daily from my colleagues.

Teachers constantly use data to drive instruction. Kids do not come standardized, nor should they, and the individual data a teacher gathers on a child is in the context of the relationship, the child's readiness level and many classroom factors. The teacher who knows each and every student and the precise moment in which to intervene as they tackle a multi-step algorithm; the educator who can sense from a child's posture the exact tone to use to engage them on a difficult task; when a student needs you to believe in them and spend that extra moment to provide specific positive feedback so they will try harder next time vs. when to be quiet and let them lead and take a risk; using the weekly quiz that shows exactly which skill is not quite mastered and guides the teacher to plan a lesson and find new materials to try to teach another way; these are teacher behaviors relying on relevant data to help kids learn.

We do NOT need standardized tests to measure achievement. A one-day snapshot of a child's performance is not indicative of authentic learning. Students may show mastery on a standard one day and not the next. This is human. The student who comes to school hungry or sad or is distracted by friendship issues on SBA day? Failure. The child who can't type as fast or as accurately as his peers? Fail. The kids who can't read a screen as well as a piece of paper because they forgot their glasses or have tired eyes? Failure. The anxiety ridden children who literally pull their hair out because of the pressure to perform? Fail. The students who don't care about a test their teacher hasn't created and which doesn't mean anything to them because it isnât connected to anything they care about? Failures.

Diane Ravitch said: "Sometimes, the most brilliant and intelligent minds do not shine on standardized tests because they do not have standardized minds."

External accountability is a need acknowledged by many people, understandably. But standardized testing has not been shown to improve achievements. Humans are not standardized.

Students cannot realize their full potential at school when we have cut counselors, nurses, art, music, extra curricular activities, behavior support, classroom aides, science materials, field trips, and most of all cut sacred TIME for teachers to plan innovative instruction. With No Child Left Behind teachers have been assigned more duties for student data collection, we must fulfill new evaluation rubric requirements, we are handed still more tests that are not aligned with curriculum or student's developmental needs and are riddled with errors, we have additional certification requirements that take time away from classroom work, we are expected to perform new leadership duties, we must navigate new technology without training or working equipment, we have to teach to pacing guides that are often impossible to follow, we somehow complete report cards thoughtfully even though they do not match new standards and the new tests, and we still must learn what the new standards even mean without any time to do so thoughtfully; and all this with a lack of high-quality aligned curricular materials while our students come to school needier than ever. This is not just a workload issue. This is literally driving teachers out of the profession.

This reality is unconscionable and I cannot remain silent.

I ask others to stand up with me for children and our future.

Thereby,

I object to the latest iteration of No Child Left Behind's failed policy called the Smarter Balanced Assessment which goes against my professional conscience.

I object to the inhumane test environment imposed upon us by people who believe schools should be run like businesses and students treated like commodities. SBA will rank and sort children so labels of failure may allow takeover of public schools by privatizers in the name of 'accountability'.

I object to the undemocratic process of adopting SBA and Common Core State Standards whereby educators and parents were not consulted. We are not being asked about what we believe is the ultimate purpose of education nor on the need for new tests and standards.

I object to treating students like guinea pigs in an experiment that has not produced any real learning gains but will increase drop-out rates, decrease motivation and continue to increase chances of suicide among teenagers for the incredible pressure they are put under to master content a mile wide and an inch deep.

I object to how computers are monopolized for weeks at a time for the sake of testing young children; tech Levy voters believed their dollars would be spent on learning not standardized testing. Further, private student data is often commercially available to private companies; yet school districts and especially parents are unaware of how a studentâs data profile is being used.

I object to the use of Pearson's set cut scores predicting â" of kids will fail. Such 'failure' will discourage incredibly hark-working students and teachers which may diminish their classroom innovation in coming school years.

I object to the lack of trust in classroom experts which has been replaced by faith in test publishers devoid of teaching experience and who deny a childâs uniqueness.

I object to the time stolen as SBA becomes the main goal of my reading, writing and math instruction, thus eliminating project based learning, health, social studies, the arts, physical education, music and social/emotional lessons.

I object to the fact that SBA will force more kids to drop out which will increase poverty; by failing this test students will lose faith in their individuality, self-worth and higher education or career prospects. Confidence is key to perseverance.

I object to the use of SBA or any standardized test that directly correlates to family income. Students of color, English learners, and those with low socio-economic status are disproportionately harmed by standardized testing and yet testing continues to increase in the name of closing the achievement gap. This is ludicrous.

I object to the lack of transparency on SBA test items and scoring mechanisms; that teachers and parents are not permitted to view the test or the answers their students write is insulting to the people who know a child best. Teacher assessment data and report cards are now being disregarded by accountability 'experts' who seek to label students for their own purposes.

I object to forcing young children to sit through hours of bubble tests when they don't even understand what they are doing and why they are doing it. This is inhumane.

I object to expecting young children to "work independently" for hours while their teacher is forced to test other students one-on-one -- test after test after test.

I object to children who are just learning to speak, read, and write in English being forced to take standardized tests using English academic language and culturally biased language. This too is inhumane.

I object to forcing children with special needs to take standardized grade level tests when they have already proven to be 1 ½ to 2 years behind typical peers via a formal evaluation using standardized tests.

I object to the misuse of precious revenue spent on SBA scoring, on practice tests, on required test materials, on contracts with test-prep corporationsâ consultants and on staff time for training to teach to the test as well as training for administering the test. Funding has been cut for counselors, nurses, planning time for teachers, behavior support staff, playground supervision & equipment, libraries, field trips and safety plans and still we have increasing class sizes. Follow the money on who is profiting from SBA as it is not in the public's best interest to give tax dollars to profit-makers who view children as voiceless consumers from which profits are earned.

I object to how financial backers for the corporate takeover of education are electing candidates who will support SBA by funding campaigns using billions of dollars earned on the backs of workers who live in poverty and whose children are harmed by this test.

I object to the SBA as it has been marketed; it is designed to prepare workers for a competitive global economy. Who can defend the social and environmental impacts of our current economic practices? Our path as a nation is focused on profits, not human rights or ecological sustainability. If the SBA was designed for perpetuating our exploitative economic practices, then many of us are morally obligated to renounce the test itself. Students have a right to an excellent public school education to learn to solve massive problems such as income inequity, not perpetuate them.

In conclusion, I believe students need to be prepared for whatever life path they choose; expecting every child to graduate high school with a nearly identical and narrow skill set is un-American and unacceptable. SBA is a critical tool used to ensure that schools are lockstep with a forcibly mandated, top-down education agenda that was not agreed upon by the most important constituents: parents, students and the classroom experts.

Therefore I professionally object to administering the SBA. Our students deserve better.

This being said, please select one of the options below. Thank you.

____ Judy Dotson, your concerns are noted and valued and you will be allowed to opt out of administering the SBA without any retribution.
OR
____ Judy Dotson, your concerns are noted and your professional conscience is being discounted. Administration in this building or district requires you to administer the SBA despite your objections and the harm, outlined in the narrative, that children will experience.


By Julianna Krueger Dauble.

Public Education Stakeholders,

Are we willing to stand by while 2/3 of our children fail a state mandated test?

Are our children so similar to business commodities like electrical sockets that we must standardize them by looking to profiteering systems aimed to 'reform' schools?

Do we need a standardized test that harms students self-esteem to more clearly draw the lines of poverty?

I am an accomplished educator; the Renton School Board named me Outstanding Elementary Educator of the Year in 2011 and I work in many leadership roles for curriculum development and implementing best strategies in classrooms. I devotedly and passionately teach kids to fluently read, critically think, problem solve, creatively process information and empathize. I cultivate students' abilities and desire to ASK big questions, not just answer them. I teach students to value the purposes for deeply learning academic content because I want my kids to love these things like I do. I truly enjoy math and reading and writing and science and health and social studies and art. I live for making these subjects come to life for my kids. I build confidence in my students, so that they have hope for a brilliant future.

When I imagine myself administering the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA), I picture my students struggling and failing. And not because they are academically weak â" but because test designers have created a test meant to yield this failure. This failure will undo the confidence I have strived to build in them. Instead of acknowledging and nurturing kids on their own path of learning we are punishing them because they fail to learn fast enough; yet it is the system's failure we are ignoring.

I am also a mom of a 4th and 6th grader in Renton schools. My own two kids are curious and confident learners and they work hard because theyâve been raised to feel success and joy in learning all kinds of things. A standardized test is not a piece of data that I would ever use as a parent to rate the effectiveness of their school or their teacher. I will do all I can as a parent to ensure they do not lose their confidence as scholars due to an unfair test. They will be opting out of SBA because that is a legal right parents have and the choice their father and I have made.

More than ever students are expected to excel at everything at unprecedented levels: rigorous academics, athletics and citizenship are intense pressures. Kids today are almost constantly on screens, rarely express themselves creatively and have less time for meaningful relationships than a generation ago. It is the pressure to be crammed full of content for high stakes testing that is abuse for many of our kids. We know students are cheating more than ever and do not have time to synthesize the breadth of information high stakes testing demands them to regurgitate. Research shows clearly that young people need downtime to process, more unstructured play and more creativity in their lives. They need project-based learning facilitated by flexible teachers with ample resources and time to creatively individualize instruction.

The highest performing countries in the world laugh at America for our ridiculous overuse of metrics to define students and reduce achievement to a single number. They recognize that we are stifling joyful learning, systematically, as our culture falsely believes that bad teachers are the problem with education and that a standardized test will measure students' achievement objectively. Yes, taxpayers must know that their money is well spent and that schools are innovative and excellent. But high stakes testing is damaging what once was good because the test alone dictates how we spend our 180 days each school year.

Teachers constantly use data to drive instruction. Kids do not come standardized, nor should they, and the individual data a teacher gathers on a child is in the context of the relationship, the child's readiness level and many classroom factors. The teacher who knows each and every student and the precise moment in which to intervene as they tackle a multi-step algorithm; the educator who can sense from a childâs posture the exact tone to use to engage them on a difficult task; when a student needs you to believe in them and spend that extra moment to provide specific positive feedback so they will try harder next time vs. when to be quiet and let them lead and take a risk; using the weekly quiz that shows exactly which skill is not quite mastered and guides the teacher to plan a lesson and find new materials to try to teach another way; these are teacher behaviors relying on relevant data to help kids learn.

We do NOT need standardized tests to measure achievement. A one-day snapshot of a childâs performance is not indicative of authentic learning. Students may show mastery on a standard one day and not the next. This is human. The student who comes to school hungry or sad or is distracted by friendship issues on SBA day? Failure. The child who canât type as fast or as accurately as his peers? Fail. The kids who can't read a screen as well as a piece of paper because they forgot their glasses or have tired eyes? Failure. The anxiety ridden children who literally pull their hair out because of the pressure to perform? Fail. The students who don't care about a tet mean anything to them because it isnât connected to anything they care about? Failures.

I admit that I do cry for the kids who know they will fail and emotionally suffer because of a standard being out of reach. For those kids, WE are the failures for making them endure something that damages their psyche. WE are failing by not providing the time and resources and flexibility they need to develop fully as human beings. My kids are so much more than test scores; but when the biggest policy decisions about their school are based on one day test scores, then the system has failed.

Diane Ravitch said: âSometimes, the most brilliant and intelligent minds do not shine on standardized tests because they do not have standardized minds.â

External accountability is a need acknowledged by many people, understandably. But standardized testing has not been shown to improve achievements. Humans are not standardized.

Students cannot realize their full potential at school when we have cut counselors, nurses, art, music, extra curricular activities, behavior support, classroom aides, science materials, field trips, and most of all cut sacred TIME for teachers to plan innovative instruction. With No Child Left Behind teachers have been assigned more duties for student data collection, we must fulfill new evaluation rubric requirements, we are handed still more tests that are not aligned with curriculum or studentâs developmental needs and are riddled with errors, we have additional certification requirements that take time away from classroom work, we are expected to perform new leadership duties, we must navigate new technology without training or working equipment, we have to teach to pacing guides that are often impossible to follow, we somehow complete report cards thoughtfully even though they do not match new standards and the new tests, and we still must learn what the new standards even mean without any time to do so thoughtfully; and all this with a lack of high-quality aligned curricular materials while our students come to school needier than ever. This is not just a workload issue. This is literally driving teachers out of the profession.

This reality is unconscionable and I cannot remain silent.
I ask others to stand up with me for children and our future.

Thereby,

I object to the latest iteration of No Child Left Behindâs failed policy called the Smarter Balanced Assessment which goes against my professional conscience.

I object to the inhumane test environment imposed upon us by people who believe schools should be run like businesses and students treated like commodities. SBA will rank and sort children so labels of failure may allow takeover of public schools by privatizers in the name of 'accountability'.

I object to the undemocratic process of adopting SBA and Common Core State Standards whereby educators and parents were not consulted. We are not being asked about what we believe is the ultimate purpose of education nor on the need for new tests and standards.

I object to treating students like guinea pigs in an experiment that has not produced any real learning gains but will increase drop-out rates, decrease motivation and continue to increase chances of suicide among teenagers for the incredible pressure they are put under to master content a mile wide and an inch deep.
I object to how computers are monopolized for weeks at a time for the sake of testing young children; tech Levy voters believed their dollars would be spent on learning not standardized testing. Further, private student data is often commercially available to private companies; yet school districts and especially parents are unaware of how a studentâs data profile is being used.

I object to the use of Pearson's set "cut-scores" predicting â" of kids will fail. Such 'failure' will discourage incredibly hark-working students and teachers which may diminish their classroom innovation in coming school years.

I object to the lack of trust in classroom experts which has been replaced by faith in test publishers devoid of teaching experience and who deny a childâs uniqueness.

I object to the time stolen as SBA becomes the main goal of my reading, writing and math instruction, thus eliminating project based learning, health, social studies, the arts, physical education, music and social/emotional lessons.

I object to the fact that SBA will force more kids to drop out which will increase poverty; by failing this test students will lose faith in their individuality, self-worth and higher education or career prospects. Confidence is key to perseverance.

I object to the use of SBA or any standardized test that directly correlates to family income. Students of color, English learners, and those with low socio-economic status are disproportionately harmed by standardized testing and yet testing continues to increase in the name of closing the achievement gap. This is ludicrous.

I object to the lack of transparency on SBA test items and scoring mechanisms; that teachers and parents are not permitted to view the test or the answers their students write is insulting to the people who know a child best. Teacher assessment data and report cards are now being disregarded by accountability âexpertsâ who seek to label students for their own purposes.

I object to forcing young children to sit through hours of bubble tests when they donât even understand what they are doing and why they are doing it. This is inhumane.

I object to expecting young children to "work independently" for hours while their teacher is forced to test other students one-on-one -- test after test after test.

I object to children who are just learning to speak, read, and write in English being forced to take standardized tests using English academic language and culturally biased language. This too is inhumane.

I object to forcing children with special needs to take standardized grade level tests when they have already proven to be 1 ½ to 2 years behind typical peers via a formal evaluation using standardized tests.

I object to the misuse of precious revenue spent on SBA scoring, on practice tests, on required test materials, on contracts with test-prep corporationsâ consultants and on staff time for training to teach to the test as well as training for administering the test. Funding has been cut for counselors, nurses, planning time for teachers, behavior support staff, playground supervision & equipment, libraries, field trips and safety plans and still we have increasing class sizes. Follow the money on who is profiting from SBA as it is not in the publicâs best interest to give tax dollars to profit-makers who view children as voiceless consumers from which profits are earned.

I object to how financial backers for the corporate takeover of education are electing candidates who will support SBA by funding campaigns using billions of dollars earned on the backs of workers who live in poverty and whose children are harmed by this test.

I object to the SBA as it has been marketed; it is designed to prepare workers for a competitive global economy. Who can defend the social and environmental impacts of our current economic practices? Our path as a nation is focused on profits, not human rights or ecological sustainability. If the SBA was designed for perpetuating our exploitative economic practices, then many of us are morally obligated to renounce the test itself. Students have a right to an excellent public school education to learn to solve massive problems such as income inequity, not perpetuate them.

In conclusion, I believe students need to be prepared for whatever life path they choose; expecting every child to graduate high school with a nearly identical and narrow skill set is un-American and unacceptable. SBA is a critical tool used to ensure that schools are lockstep with a forcibly mandated, top-down education agenda that was not agreed upon by the most important constituents: parents, students and the classroom experts.
Therefore I professionally object to administering the SBA. Our students deserve better.

This being said, please select one of the options below. Thank you.

____ Ms. Dauble, Your concerns are noted and valued and you will be allowed to opt out of administering the SBA without any retribution.
OR
____ Ms. Dauble, Your concerns are noted and your professional conscience is being discounted. Administration requires you to administer the SBA despite your objections and the harm, outlined in the narrative, that children will experience.









FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.