Standardized tests stressing students

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 April 2013 at 12:00 am

HOLLEY – The president of the Holley Teachers Association joined a growing chorus of detractors to new state standardized tests for students in grades 3 through 8.

The English tests last week took three days, and this week students have three days of math testing.

“That’s more than the Regents,” said Julie Wantuck, a Holley 10th grade English teacher and HTA president. “We’re over-testing these kids.”

She said the tests are stressing students and teachers. Some of the material on the tests hasn’t been covered in class, Wantuck said.

She urged the Holley Board of Education, parents, and other school stakeholders to attend a rally in Albany on June 8, protesting the new tests that are part of New York’s new “Common Core” standards.

‘Our kids are not just a test score.’ – Julie Wantuck, HTA president

“We need to make some noise about all the tests the students are taking,” Wantuck said at Holley’s BOE meeting this week. “The testing has gotten crazy.”

The New York State United Teachers is organizing the June 8 rally. The union is critical of “the state’s obsession with standardized testing and endless data collection,” NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi said in a statement.

Wantuck urged parents to write letters to state education officials, describing the impact the tests are having on their children. Many children are so stressed by the tests they have a loss of appetite, feel sick and anxious, Wantuck said.

“There is an over reliance on scores,” Wantuck said. “Our kids are not just a test score.”

The NYSUT, which represents 600,000 educational professionals, said the multiple days of testing are stifling creativity in the classroom.

Holley administrators reported that the parents of three students had their children opt out of the tests.