My nine-year-old grandson, who is very bright, was literally sick to his stomach this morning because he had to take the STAAR test today. He makes straight As, but the school makes such a big deal about the test that it makes him physically sick.
This test is ruining our kids, as well as the teachers who aren’t even allowed to teach anymore. How would you like your entire year at work to be judged on one or two days’ performance? The reason this test is in place is that most of our elected politicians haven’t set foot in a classroom since they graduated from high school. Yet, somehow, these same politicians are now “experts” on our children and the public education system. Sure, there are some teachers out there who don’t need to be teaching—just like in any profession. But the overwhelming majority are dedicated professionals who work for peanuts because they love children. They are often unfairly judged by what a child makes on a stupid (I’m sorry, but that’s the truth) little test on one day of the entire school year.
Certainly, a child’s progress should be measured. What about things like citizenship, the desire to learn, getting along with others, making progress each day, and little victories that add up? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just let teachers teach the children at their own pace? Let them be creative and use their imagination? My bet is you would see better results. You also wouldn’t have administrators breathing down teachers’ necks all day long, making them practice the STAAR tests day in and day out.
Teachers used to go into the profession for a lifetime. The average teacher now stays for less than five years before moving on. That’s a sad commentary on a profession that is probably the noblest in our society. We all should be worried when the 60-year-old teachers start to retire. Texas needs to work hard to fill the pipeline with people who view this profession as a true calling. It takes a lot more than almost anyone—especially politicians—knows to be a teacher.
Teachers, I applaud you and thank you for giving it your all under some very trying circumstances.
As for my grandson, I know he will do GREAT. He’s smart, adaptable, and has a whole LOT of winning attitude. No way will he let this “stupid little test” beat him. COUNT ON IT!!
Gary Godsey is the executive director of ATPE.
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