No Child Left Behind?

This is a letter to the editor from a mom in Ohio who tried to exempt her children from standardized testing. I’ve removed her name and location out of respect for her privacy.

Dear Editor:

My mom guilt has made me sick. I’m disturbed with the knowledge that I’ve gained since August of 2013 about education reform in Ohio. The increased standardized testing and how they are coupled to the new Common Core national standards.

Changes in curriculum, the frequency of standardized testing, data mining of student information, Teach For America replacing real teachers in a classroom … it goes on and on.

On Aug. 25, 2014, I stood up to formally refuse standardized testing for my two older children, who aren’t old enough to do so for themselves. They are 5 and 8 years old, in kindergarten and second grade, respectively.

With that decision, I found myself traveling down the rabbit hole. I knew that it would be hard, but was not ready for the push-back, bullying and obstruction I received from our local district.

I can handle the bullying, which has continued through the district’s superintendent, who has called my home, long string of emails telling me what I can and can’t do with the education of my children. That I am not allowed to ask my children’s teachers anything about testing, curriculum, materials, etc.

On Sept. 26, the superintendent confirmed my children were standardized tested.

I believe in respectfully speaking truth to power and authority. I want you and I to be able to exercise our constitutional rights when we think something is important. I believe my parental constitutional rights have been violated in (my) School District.

(Name withheld).

School districts are supposed to serve children, their parents, and surrounding community and not the other way around. If we can’t determine our own children’s education while they are in school then why send them there. Deep down, I feel this is an attempt to sabotage our public education system. Over time it will push the wealthiest parents into private schooling, and the parents who can manage on one income into home schooling. As for the rest—the poorest who have no choice—their kids will suffer the most.

That’s the cruel irony of a law called “No Child Left Behind.” I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am.

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