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Your Views: Parents who opt out of testing dont offer reasons
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I read with great interest your April 19 article “Many parents’ answer to high-stakes testing.” While there are constitutional rights and laws that allow parents to opt their child out of testing, I am still a bit mystified as to why they would want to.

Some stated that it is because it is their right. Another stated that we should know what our children are being exposed to. While it is a right, that right also comes with responsibilities. The responsibility to ensure that your child comes to school ready to learn, completes assignments, studies regularly, and is prepared for exams. That requires parental involvement with your child, not the administration.

I have been a student in one way or another since 1966 and have witnessed firsthand the erosion of our educational system, much of it due to a coddling of our students by dumbing down standards and acquiescing to the demands of parents that their child receive some special accommodation or exception. There are certainly occasions for this to happen, but our tax dollars do not provide for an individualized and personalized education for each student; that is called home schooling, which is another right parents have.

Testing is not (but has become) the objective; it is the result of the aforementioned preparation. Text anxiety is often the result of poor preparation and I speak from experience. I am also familiar with the inner workings of both Hall County and Gainesville City Schools and can tell you that the vast majority of teachers are well-prepared to give the students the best education possible given that teaching to the test has become a requirement.

I challenge any parent to find a question on a standardized test that is not clearly communicated on because this is what teachers are forced to teach. So we do know what our children are being exposed to if one takes the time to research this instead of our right to refuse measurement of achievement to the clearly defined standard. If you don’t like the standard, contact your legislator, not the principal.

A child may fail the test, but wouldn’t you rather find out early that adjustments are necessary? A formula I have found successful in business that translates into educational life is DMAIC: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control. Without measurement, nothing after that happens. This is a recipe for success, but may involve some disappointment or even failure.

Every child cannot always get a trophy; failure happens sometimes if you are trying new things. If you are not you never have to worry about failing but probably won’t have to worry about success either. Welcome to life.

Rick MacLeish

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