Below is my response to a Facebook thread discussing opt out. I understand that some are still afraid of the opt out movement or not sure what to expect. My answer is pretty simple: If we don’t opt out and “throw our bodies into the machine” we will get the entire disaster that is corporate education reform—a privatized two tiered system of education that undermines American democracy.
Isn’t this a lot more frightening then wondering what the superintendent will say when you announce your intentions to opt out?
Let’s get real about the last ten years and the new Common Core and Keystones (Pennsylvania’s new exit exams). As a college administrator and teacher educator, all of this testing, test prep homework, data driven instruction and holding teachers accountable has sent an entire generation of students to careers and college less prepared to do real intellectual work and lacking any sense of imagination and curiosity.
This system is destroying our children. Who the f#@k cares if opting out is “legal?” It’s the only thing we have that has a chance at stopping this insanity. I know it’s not an easy decision at first, but once you make it and realize the opt out decision is pro child, pro teacher and pro public school you will find an inner peace. Taking care of our children is our first responsibility. Looking for legalities shouldn’t even be an issue. We are talking about stopping the intellectual abuse and demeaning educational experiences our children have had to sit through for 10 years.
There isn’t a politician that’s going to help. They get too much money from the testing companies. It is time for citizen action and massive civil disobedience. I remember watching Arnie Duncan on TV in the midst of the Atlanta cheating scandals. He seemed very concerned with the public’s perception of a testing scandal and its impact on how citizens might view the continued use of high stakes tests. I don’t know about all of you but I never had any faith in the tests to begin with. We must opt out and help others lose faith in the tests.
I want to see the state or federal government put one of us in jail for keeping our children from taking tests that are meant to destroy our system of public education. Take the action now and spread the word. Opt Out!
Follow Timothy D. Slekar on Twitter: www.twitter.com/slekar