Susan Ohanian is my new hero.

ImageWow.  I just read the most amazing post by Susan Ohanian.  Passion.  Research.  And simply fine writing.  Wow.  My heart is racing.

My last two posts were on similar topics, angry with both  David Coleman and the Common Core’s clarification of literature standards, but I got really truly angry at this part of Susan’s post:

A national movement of parents opting their children out of standardized testing started when Professor Tim Slekar and his wife went with their son Luke to a school conference to learn why Luke’s grades were slipping. The teacher showed them a sample paper, with a test-prep writing prompt: Write about the two most exciting times you have had with your family. Luke’s response, started, “Whoo-hoo! Let me tell you about my great family vacation trip to the Adirondacks.”

The teacher stopped Luke and asked him to explain to his parents why this opening was unacceptable. “Whoo-hoo! isn’t a sentence,” he acknowledged, adding that the first sentence to a writing prompt must begin by restating the prompt. The teacher said that according to standards, Luke’s response would have been scored a zero, and her obligation was to prepare children to pass the state test. Feeling that education shouldn’t be about preparing students to write answers in a format low-paid temp workers can score, the Slekars decided to opt Luke out of future standardized testing. “We would not allow our son to provide data to a system that was designed to prove that he, the teacher, the system, and the community were failing.” Tim found people of like mind– Peggy Robertson, Morna McDermmott, Ceresta Smith, Shaun Johnson and Laurie Murphy–and together they founded United Opt Out, a national movement to opt students out of standardized testing. Its endorsers include John Kuhn, an outspoken Texas school superintendent, who says, “Parents and students have the power to say when enough is enough.”

I am sick and sad.  Voice, creativity, and choice in writing… I strive to teach those, to nurture them.  Whoo-hoo is the perfect sentence.  The perfect start.

I also love how Susan says that some of the pieces on education read like satire.  When she mentioned this young author, I couldn’t help think back on what the NYT Times said in my post on computer grading.  Satire indeed.

So whoo-ooo, Susan.  Giddyup!


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