Pause PARCC and all high-stakes testing, letting educators assess damage, repair it
From the Cambridge Education Association, June 3: We are very concerned about the excessive focus on standardized tests in our schools. As officers of the Cambridge Education Association, we believe in assessing our students, but these days it seems like standardized tests are driving public education – in the wrong direction.
Switching from the MCAS to the new PARCC test won’t solve the problem because it would still mean that testing is determining what is taught, not the other way around. We support a moratorium on PARCC and on all high-stakes testing so that we can look at the damage all this testing has caused and figure out how to fix it.
Standardized tests and test preparation take time away from students’ learning. Educators know their students, their content and how to teach. We need to let teachers teach. We can’t allow bureaucrats and corporations to dictate what’s taught in our schools.
These tests are narrowing the curriculum and reducing time available for important subjects and skills, such as history and the arts or working collaboratively on group projects. They narrow our sense of the purpose of school. As the saying goes: Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.
As a society, we need to start trusting educators again to assess our students. After all, we know your children better – and care about them much more – than the giant testing companies. We also express our gratitude to the City Council and School Committee as well as to state Rep. Marjorie Decker for joining us in our fight against standardized tests. Our students deserve more.
Terry Gist, president
Jesse Kaplan, vice president
Bobby Travers, treasurer
Billy McDonald, secretary