Jose Vilson: Why I’m Opting My Son Out Of Standardized Testing (And You Can, Too)
Jose Vilson is a veteran math educator who taught middle schoolers in New York City. He’s also the activist who co-founded Educolor, and the author of the book This Is Not A Test. He’s one of the most evocative writers about education in the edublogging world. In this In this recent piece, piece, he talks about why his son will not be taking New York’s Big Standardized Test.
The issues with standardized testing are manifold. It’s hard to advocate for standardized testing unless one ignores its abhorrent connections to the eugenics movement, massive disinvestment in the social safety net, distorted notions of accountability, and the mass closure and privatization of public schools. But even if we ventured to ignore decades of institutional malfeasance, we must reject notions that we somehow need these tests to accurately assess learning loss. Many of my students lost a lot more than learning with little to show for it. If anything, the last couple of decades have shown time and again how, generally, school districts don’t offer authentic support to those labeled “failing.”
The piece is a strong reminder of why parents should get involved in their state’s opt out movement, particularly in this pandemic year.
Our students deserve more for their resilience than this country has offered them, especially because this country can offer that and then some. Perhaps now is a good time to assess our students less and assess itself more.