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A backward curriculum

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On June 8, an education rally is scheduled in Albany. The purpose of the rally is to bring attention to the ill-conceived policies of the current state Education Department, Commissioner of Education John King and the Board of Regents regarding the detrimental tests and testing periods that our children are enduring. This current testing practice is completely awry from what education communities across the state know is best for students.

Tests are being made up of questions that students can’t answer, as the information to answer with is not to be taught before the students test! Sound backward? The children’s test results are owned by the corporation which made up the test questions. These corporations then sell the test data, your child’s answers and score to book companies, who in turn use this data for their books. They then publish books and sell these books to districts for a big profit.

The long and short of it, our children are being used as guinea pigs for large corporations who buy and sell data taken from our children’s test results. The Education Department, the Board of Regents and the commissioner of education have reneged on their duty to protect our children from exploitation.

Anyone who went to public school had to take tests. But we were tested on material that we were taught! In other words, teachers taught first, then tested students. The current “tests” and “testing schedules” are grossly intrusive in the student’s daily instruction and learning. Such ill-founded practices are counterproductive to children’s self-esteem and overall development. Profit corporations are using taxpayer dollars to obtain input data for their products. In other words, they’re getting a free ride on the backs of our children’s lost instructional time and educational opportunities due to teachers administering “tests.”

How did this all happen? We have elected officials who are not diligent in protecting our children’s public education; we have a governor who does not support public education; we have a Board of Regents that is being influenced by politics rather than sound educational principals that have stood the test of time, and we have an Education Department that has lost its way in valuing the dignity and respect of our children.

Find out the details of the June 8 rally. Do your part. Support sound educational practice.

Cynthia Graham

Watertown

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