Dear State Ed

10 Apr

Next week, my daughters will begin the ever anticipated series of state standardized testing. No less than three communications have come home, along with a message on the district’s call system to encourage us to provide an adequate amount of sleep for our children and a good breakfast with a side of encouragement to do their best.

While state testing is not new, the assessments are more rigorous and require a different set of skills to be applied to the test-taking process to be successful. Our teachers are working hard to help students be prepared and I know they feel a similar frustration about the standardization of learning that has permeated our educational system.

State Ed is pushing the data-driven instruction model, which they assert is a key framework for supporting student success.This model begins with the assessment as a measurement to drive analysis which will then direct specific action to improve subsequent assessment outcomes. This places value on the outcome of one test in relation to the child’s entire educational performance for the academic year.

One of my issues with this approach is that the tests are purporting to assess what my child knows and can do, but it is pigeon-holed into subject areas that people who are removed from the classroom experience have deemed important to my child’s success and college-readiness (math, ELA, science).  It does not consider the child’s performance in extended studies, such as art, music and physical education. Not every child will go into a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) field. 

Standardized assessments are not going away, as long as policy makers and legislators continue to place value in only a smattering of a child’s educational experience, and continue to drive instruction based on assessment data that merely gives them a snapshot of one moment in time on my child’s educational spectrum.

So … as testing approaches next week, I will ensure a peaceful night’s sleep for my children, no thanks to the anxiety the tests have stirred up.  I will give my children a good breakfast, which I do every day. And I will encourage them to do their best, as every parent does. It is likely that I will also send a lovely letter to state ed, possibly followed up with a voice message.


Posted by on April 10, 2013 in Uncategorized


2 responses to “Dear State Ed

  1. judybeauchemin

    April 10, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Good for you! You will do whatever is needed to help your children and I am sure you will give State ED a good piece of your mind. Testing does not take into consideration the child that is not a good test taker, but truly understands the subject. Some kids may not feel that well that day, or have other problems on their mind, just as adults could have. There are so many other factors to consider. I hope things change in the future, but I don’t see it coming any time soon.

  2. Dorothy Swartzenberg Dickinson

    April 12, 2013 at 2:26 am

    I have now been retired from the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education, Educational Services Department (CA) for 15 years this July 30th and we were talking about the same things before I retired! Of course I also have kids and grandkids teaching in education so hear all about it, especially from daughter Dohnna because she works for the Superintendent of Mountain View School District which is a small district of 3 Elem. and 1 JH schools. It was a problem when I was working that has never been resolved. It’s not that TEACHERS and ADMINISTRATORS haven’t tried. It’s those in the state and federal govt. The State has to follow what the Feds say. That also is one reason there have been more and more Charter Schools started here in CA PLUS a lot of Home School groups. Also, NOT having the feds and state get the money to the districts for over 2 years that is owed to them hasn’t helped any. How do you carry out programs without funding? Dohnna’s district had to borrow $2 mil. after using up their own funds and are paying interest on that money. Some districts have gone bankrupt, some are not small districts either. If the gov’t wants something done they had better start paying the bills.

    Love and Kisses XXXOOO God Bless You Every Day and His angels watch over you every second, Mom/Grandma/Aunt…Dorothy Swartzenberg Dickinson

    Date: Wed, 10 Apr 2013 14:30:58 +0000 To:


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