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Letters: Parents respond; 'My Pretty Pony'

This is a first-grade classroom at Branch Brook

This is a first-grade classroom at Branch Brook Elementary School in Smithtown at the end of the day Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

I am responding to "Tiger parents -- and their opposites" [Opinion, March 26], regarding refusals to take standardized tests. A year ago, this column would have echoed some of my very own sentiments.

I am tired of a generation of parents who believe their role is to make life easy for their child. Although I was not impressed with the Common Core standards, my husband and I thought that our job was to change that with letters to and discussions with our legislators. My daughter's job was to work hard in school, with continued respect for her teachers and value for education.

A year later, I am appalled. My husband, who is an MIT graduate, and I, with a master's of science degree, find it difficult to navigate her homework and ascertain exactly what is expected. Simple addition is no longer simple. Additional and unnecessary steps are required, without which an answer is deemed incorrect, even if the final number is correct.

Many parents, including me, are offended by the inaccurate and offensive label of "My Pretty Pony parents." Although there may be a small minority of parents who are refusing to have their children take the tests "to shield them from feelings of inadequacy," I have not come across any. Our decision to have our daughter refuse state testing is about not ceding our children's education to a secretive process that's without educational merit.

Valerie DiCaprio, Garden City

Columnist Lane Filler is just plain wrong. My fifth-grade twins will not be taking the Common Core standardized tests this year. And while I do not consider myself a tiger mom, I am certainly closer to that than My Pretty Pony.

My kids took the tests last year and did just fine. For me, it is not about their performance on the tests. I welcome the higher standards. But to implement this program all at once is damaging to kids who now think they aren't smart enough to get it.

Linking the results to teacher evaluations misaligns incentives and could have a negative impact on teacher-student relationships. There is also the high-handed and arrogant way the commissioner of education has handled feedback from parents and teachers.

This is the protest that is available to me, and I am taking it. My kids know, and will continue to know, that I expect academic excellence from them. They are not being shielded from anything except poor planning and implementation.

Laurie Ward, North Merrick

I have an idea for all those kids whose parents are allowing them to opt out of the state English language assessments: Let's give each one a trophy!

Jim Miraval, West Islip