Friday, January 4, 2013

How will you help datapoint students who are standing up and speaking out

Noa Rosinplotz at Spelling Bee via Flickr
More and more students are waking up, standing up, and speaking out against standardized testing.  Most recently 6th grade student Noa Rosinplotz posted the following story on her Facebook Page aptly named Datapoints. 

The Little Datapoint and the Big Bad Test

Once upon a time, there was a little datapoint named Rosin Plotz, Noa. Her friends called her by her ID number, 9------, or 9 for short. She liked her job-most of the time. But 6 times a year, or 19 days in total, came the Big Bad test. The Little Datapoint completed the test dutifully each time, mulling the possibilities of Paul Revere's horse's emotions and checking her work not once, but twice. She and the other Datapoints together formed a Chart, which was their Job. The Little Datapoint felt very proud at having been a part of such a great endeavor. Then one day, the Little Datapoint felt a different emotion. The Little Datapoint felt ANGRY. The Little Datapoint thought: Is this all I am good for? Providing data on tests? That can't be all there is to life, can it?. These questions are dumb, thought the Little Datapoint. I should not spend my life answering these questions. Paul Revere's horse will never change the world, she said to herself. Paul Revere's horse is dead. But I can still change the world. And I will never do that by answering these questions, day after day, year after year. And that Little Datapoint did not answer her questions. That Little Datapoint RIPPED UP HER TEST AND THREW IT INTO THE DEEP DARK RECESSES OF THE TRASH CAN TO FESTER AND EVENTUALLY DIE A SLOW AND PAINFUL DEATH LASTING FOR ALL ETERNITY!!!!!!!!!"

But that's not all.  She also wrote a letter which Diane Ravitch recently posted on her blog here.
Noa is not alone.  Last year I shared two letters from students in grades five and six speaking out against tests.

Students are speaking out. Parents are speaking out.  Teachers are speaking out. We know these tests are not what's best for children. 
"Those of us who know better, need to do better and stand between the defenseless children we serve and the madness around us. If a destructive idea needs to be challenged or a right defended, I’ll speak up." (Au Contraire, Nov 2012) - Gary Stager
Nothing will change if we allow the government to impose these destructive practices upon children. It may not be easy, but doing what is right and best for the oppressed often is not. Our children don't need these tests. Our teachers don't. Our parents don't. The only ones who do are the politicians and multi-billion dollar testing industry. We must stand up to this Goliath, take back the learning and put it where it the hands of children, their parents, and the teachers who have their student's best interest at heart.