We have decided to opt our children out of all standardized testing for this year and future years.
This is not a decision that we came to lightly, but after long and careful thought about what is best for our children, we feel we must act on our convictions rather than be coerced into participating in a testing system that is deeply flawed.
We have researched and studied the use of the results, the waste of money for these tests. We feel it's a waste of valuable instructional time for test prep and testing and the pressures placed on teachers and children to perform well on these tests.
We have many reasons for opting out of the PSSAs and Keystone tests, but none of them are to hurt the teachers or the Spring Cove School District. We are doing this to support our teachers, and hopefully bring back some of the professional autonomy that we have lost as educators in Pennsylvania.
This opt-out movement is actually quite large in PA and nationally. They even have several websites dedicated to answering parents' questions as to why and how they can opt out of testing.
We greatly admire our teachers and want to put our administration, teachers and parents back in control of the decision-making while working together to provide the best education for our children. Policy makers in government should not be the ones controlling the decisions.
We have written to our representatives (and encourage others to do the same) to point out that No Child Left Behind and the benchmarks for Annual Yearly Progress for this year and next year are unattainable (89 percent of all students in math and 91 percent in reading this year, and 100 percent next year in both), and are therefore setting our schools up to fail.
Once our schools are declared "failing," the state will able to proceed by dismantling our locally elected school boards and appointing privately owned Education Management Organizations to determine the fate of our schools.
Hopefully enough parents making the decision to opt out this year and next will be enough for all levels of government to reconsider education reform.
For more information, on how to opt out, go to optout
Scott and Kate Muthler