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[Susan notes: This letter responds to the people commenting on the fine article by Juan Gonzalez, comments such as this bit of 'wisdom': 'Children need to learn to be prepared to be comfortable and confident when taking tests. . . the tests will help prepare them for future exams that they will not have the option to opt-out. As a parent, what message are we sending our kids ... you don't like it, don't follow the law, don't respect authority or rules.'

Pete Farrugio suggests an alternative to training for obedience: How about teaching kids to question authority and fight corruption.]

Published in New York Daily News
04/15/2015

To the editor

Re: It's not multiple choice, it's a resounding no as fed-up parents revolt against New York's standardized exams in historic fashion It's scary how many well intentioned folks in the US consider themselves experts on educational policy because they once went to school. As in this comments space, many weigh in effortlessly with criticism of educational professionals, mainly teachers, while they wouldn't dream of similarly criticizing professionals in other fields, such as medicine or engineering. Equally troubling is the tendency by some to criticize parents who have opted their children out of these flawed standardized tests in order to protect them from the continued emotional and cognitive harm they have witnessed that is caused by the yearly "test and punish" regime. Subject my kids to testing-induced tough love in 3rd grade so they can prepare for life in a cruel cold world? How about let's show them how to fight back against the heartless plutocrats and their puppet politicians as a way to CHANGE this cruel, cold world?

And to get the revenue to pay for a better society, let's lighten up on the underpaid teachers and public service workers, and instead demand a fair tax rate from the gluttonous billionaires and their polluting corporations.

As for the myth of the poor performance of US schools compared to other countries, don't believe the hype in the corporate media. Poor kids everywhere score poorly on these biased standardized tests; but few countries test their poor kids, while the US does it bigtime. Middle class US schoolchildren consistently score near the top in all international comparisons (see below).

If you worry about poor kids, as we should do, then attack poverty, not teachers.

BRAVO to the opt-out parents!

http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2012/04/stephen_krashen_pulls_the_rug.html

http://dianeravitch.net/2012/12/09/stephen-krashen-our-pisa-scores-are-just-right

The writer is Associate Professor, Bilingual Education, University of Texas Pan America,

Pete Farruggio


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