44° Good Afternoon
44° Good Afternoon

Letter: We opt out because tests are flawed

Scores for Long Island students in grades three

Scores for Long Island students in grades three through eight who took the Common Core state exams in the spring of 2015 rose modestly this year compared to last, according to the New York State Education Department. Look up scores by district here. But that only tells part of the story. Long Island also had more than 46 percent of eligible students refuse to take state tests -- far higher than the state average -- according to Newsday's reporting. Look up opt-out rates for local districts here Photo Credit: NEWSDAY / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Columnist Randi F. Marshall writes that opting out of state testing for schoolchildren teaches that it’s OK to shy away from life’s difficulties [“Why our daughter isn’t opting out,” Opinion, March 31]. I want to clear up the myth that we opt our kids out from tests because we are afraid they might fail and feel bad about themselves.

Tests and assessments are necessities, and I am all for them when they are created by my kids’ teachers. My children take every one of those tests; they don’t have a choice. If they fail, then they’d better pick themselves off the floor and study for the next one.

Both teacher and student can see exactly the areas that need improvement. Everything is transparent. If the child doesn’t study and tanks on the next test, he will feel my disappointment for not rising to his potential. If that makes you feel bad, kid, then that was your choice.

The state assessments are poorly written and obsessively hidden from my child’s teachers. They were rushed into implementation to beg for Race to the Top funds. It didn’t matter who was hurt — students, teachers, schools. All that mattered was cash. My child and teacher will never see what answers were incorrect, only useless data the state uses to prove that my sons are “failing” and that their teacher is “ineffective.”

The bottom line is, you want your children to learn to ride a bicycle. They fall off, they cry. But you make them get back on. However, if the only bike they had to learn on had flat tires, no brakes and a too-high seat, would you use it?

Alan Schwartz, Roslyn