Parents, it’s time to wake up and take a good, hard look at our school system.  Is this standardized, one size fits all education what we really want for our non standard kids?  I, for one, am done being complacent.  I’m not allowing my children to take “the test” in the high stakes testing game.   It’s just the first step in the right direction.  Now I find myself needing to address the fact that my childrens’ entire school year boils down to test prep for the big test.  I know this is the case because our district advertises its use of “aligned curricula”.   Aligned to what?  Take a guess!  Instead of CSAP simply being a tool to measure what our kids are learning, it’s become the curriculum.  Textbook publishers align their materials to reflect the standards on state tests.  It’s called teaching to the test, it’s what our school district does, and it’s at the disservice of our kids.  Schools exist to serve children and their needs, not to satisfy government standards and line the pockets of McGraw-Hill.

Take a look at the Mapleton school district in Thornton.  They’ve transformed their schools into magnets, each offering something unique, and giving parents and children real choice.  So we can do this another way!   Check out Jefferson County Open School.  It’s a public school.  Who’s to say we can’t reinvent one of ours here in Greeley into that model?  It can be done!  Let’s all start talking to each other about what we really want for our kids.  What does real learning look like?  How do you know it’s happening?  Can it be measured on a standardized test?  Why should that be the goal?  Don’t our children deserve more?

Students are not all the same.  An educational approach that reduces learning to a uniform set of measurable indicators is wrong.   Talk to other parents, bring up the issue at PTO meetings, imagine something new and exciting!  The time has come to pull our heads from the sand and look at our schools with a critical eye.  Don’t accept things as they are because you assume the experts know best.  Parents, teachers, and students are the experts.  Let’s all take our rightful place at the table, roll up our sleeves, and get to work in reclaiming our children’s education.  It belongs to them, not the state, not the feds, not the politicians and businessmen.  It’s our job as parents to take back that control.


17 Responses to Let’s stop buying what they’re selling

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by connyjensen and connyjensen, BuildBetterSchools. BuildBetterSchools said: Let’s stop buying what they’re selling: Parents, it’s time to wake up and take a good, hard l… #education #reform [...]

  2. Susan says:

    We quit buying what Dist 6 was selling when we pulled our children out to homeschool them 4 years ago. We were not going to allow them to teach our children only a test and not have them prepared for college or LIFE! The ten years we have given them was more than enough time. Childhood is short and we as parents need to realize our choices and exercise our rights to educate our our children as WE see fit. We still have one child in a Dist 6 high school, but are looking forward to the day when our only connection to the district are snow days.

    • Melissa Jones says:

      Yes, you literally stopped buying it! I should have titled the post “let’s demand new product on the shelves”, or something. Gave me a chuckle.

      Unfortunately, you are still paying for the low quality education in the form of taxes. It’s in everyone’s best interest to demand some changes.

      I can’t say that homeschooling hasn’t crossed my mind, though. Thanks for the comment!

      • James Brochey says:

        @ Melissa

        Shame the taxes still won’t go down when all of our children are forced into Charters and Privates.

        Then you’ll pay taxes AND tuition.

        But I’m sure you’ll find a way to blame that on the Government too.

        and… not everyone can afford home schooling, especially the 35 million minimum wage Walmart employees in the U.S.A.

        • Melissa Jones says:

          Not quite understanding what you’re getting at. Where should I be placing the blame, if not on the federal/state government?

          • 4ndy says:

            Culture and ‘economics’ is to blame. The standardised schooling system is based upon industrial revolution ideals of what is needed out of students, and our whole society and not-so-economical monetary system is based around the same 18th-century information that no longer applies.

            Those in government had just as much garbage forced into their heads as kids whether in state or private schools, garbage in garbage out, to the point that many if not all of them actually believe that printing more unbacked money, throwing it at problems and ‘raising standards’ is some form of solution.

            Do not blame elitists and industrialists for their perceptions, they were warped by those before them just like your kids’ would have been had you not thoughtfully intervened.
            A change in culture is needed to bring any lasting improvement to teaching methods.

  3. FLMom says:

    Parents need to stop voting for politicians pushing these policies. In Florida and much of the country, it’s the entire republican party- but Obama’s administration has taken it to a whole new level of insanity with Race to the Top. Politicians like Michelle Rhee and Arne Duncan talk a good game about giving parents control- and that’s why so many buy into it- but the policies they advocate are more tests and decimating the teaching profession. It’s difficult for the average parent to see through the lies and understand that what education reformers claim is best for our kids- is really an agenda for big business and privitization. I’m afraid we will have to hit rock bottom in this country before things will turn around.

    • Melissa Jones says:

      Yes! How do we help more parents to understand? It takes someone being willing to go down the rabbit hole. I think it’s easier to just not allow yourself to do it…ignorance is bliss.

  4. FLMom hits the nail on the head. BOTH Parties have been pushing the idea of reform for decades. Who benefits? Not the kids, communities, or parents.

    Time to hold the legislators accountable. In the case of Florida’s SB736, few ask the legislators how this new testing scheme will cost above and beyond RT3 and for those districts who did not sign on to RT3. Where will they find that money.

    • Melissa Jones says:

      The money for testing always seems to be there, doesn’t it? In my local district we are dealing with budget cuts. We may have to reduce teachers, cut electives/sports, etc., but when I ask about reducing the number of assesments, I’m told they are mostly paid for by grants, so it costs our district little. But the grant money comes from somewhere! How much do we spend on testing on a national level, I wonder?

  5. Michele says:

    In Florida, if your children don’t take the FCAT, it will penalize the school because part of the school’s ‘grade’ is based on the percentage of students who are tested. Eliminating testing would be a step in the right direction towards preserving teacher’s jobs next year in the tough economy.

    • cara says:

      I did not know that not taking the FCAT was an option. How does that effect the child?

      • Melissa Jones says:

        That’s a good question. Does it at all? I know here in CO, schools and officials want you to think not testing will hurt your child, but it doesn’t.

  6. Chris Eikenberg says:

    The officals administering the test use psychological warfare to get what they want. Then scream there is something psychologically wrong if you get upset to opt your kid out of testing.

  7. Now that we have witnessed amazing revolutions in the Middle East and Africa, I wonder what it be the tipping point for revolution in learning. What do you think it will take? Will we actually get there? How do people of like minds get better connected?
    Best regards,
    RJ Johnson

  8. K FL teacher says:

    I am a FL teacher, and I am also a mom of a second grader with ADHD/language reading deficits. I have no choice whether or not to administer the end of course/fcat exams to my students.

    However, I have decided that I WILL NOT LET MY CHILD take these tests. I will not let my child be number in another person’s salary or penalized because she could not focus on the day of test (more than likely) due to the high stress.

    Assessment should drive instruction (Is the student understanding this concept?? Do I need to reteach or represent the material in a different way??). However, one test should never be an indicator the “effectiveness” of one teacher. Furthermore, it is not just one teacher that impacts a student’s performance. What about an art teacher that might have provided that student with an intrinsic motivation to learn (very hard to do these days!)?

    I am so furious. It is time that parents speak up! Our freedoms are wasted if they are not used. Again, my child will not be participating in these ridiculous exams. I will work with her teachers to create a portfolio demonstrating her progress.

    –Very angry FL mom.

  9. pamela says:

    OMG…are you actually saying, a parent can “opt” a child out of the Federal testing? This would be great news but are you sure? With the new, sudden, and unreachable changes to this year’s FCAT, I am worried about my child taking them. It affects what electives she can take the following year! Please reply if anyone knows for sure about this for Florida..this “opting out” Thank you

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