April 2013 Special message from the Executive Committee_High Stakes Testing

A special message to all our Parents (posted April 2013):

This week starts six days of some rigorous tests for our children in grades 3-8.  We have always had state assessments including the Regents and they  may have their validity, but things have changed in the last two years with the adoption of the Common Core standards and the implementation of APPR. The forecast of change predicts more and more testing and further classroom time and school budget money spent on test prep.

No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top,  Common Core, APPR, Acuity, SLO’s, PARCC, High Stake Testing…wow….a lot of programs, tests and jargon to grasp. We can only imagine many parents feel the same. Some of these programs are federal based, some state based. The one common message we are hearing that resonates with all is that parents across the country are unhappy with the importance and reliance put on high stake testing and they are becoming more and more vocal about their growing discontent. Teachers, school administrators and boards of education are banning together on this topic as well.  The NYS PTA recently wrote a position paper on just this issue.

As parents, we need to ask ourselves: Is the focus on the results of these high stakes testing putting undue stress on our educational system and harming the academic environments that support education of the whole child? Am I concerned enough to send a message?  If so, how and what is the most effective message to send?

As the Garden City PTA Executive Committee we find our role, as in the past, is to bring attention to an issue, give tools for parents to start to ask questions, and at times, to  mobilize an effort.

The Executive Committee of the PTA will send a message to Albany by first calling our legislators. We have written a letter, which will be personally delivered to our legislators’ offices (Asm. Ra and Sen. Hannon) and faxed to both NY State Commissioner of Education Dr. John King and Governor Andrew Cuomo. We will keep this issue in the forefront and continue our efforts to advocate for our children during the year.

We ask at this time that you please join us in this effort. It can’t just be the PTA or a few concerned parents, it has to be all parents who feel this is of real concern speaking up.

What you can do is send a letter to your legislative representatives. You can use the letter to the Governor posted on our website (click here) and locate contact information to your representatives on the information bar to the left.  Please feel free to copy, edit, and personalize your letter. It can be sent now or throughout the year, to voice your concern regarding these issues.

We hope that you take the time to inform yourself on these matters and we will provide some informative links on our website.  

Please feel free to contact any of us with any questions you may have,

Sincerely,

Garden City PTA Executive Committee