Dear Mr. Gates,
My name is Alaina and I used to be a teacher. I came from a truly disadvantaged background, worked my way through college, sometimes even collecting cans to pay my tuition before I got a scholarship, because I truly believed that education was the great equalizer and the only way out for all the hundreds of thousands of kids who, just like me, are more likely to end up in prison then with a master’s degree.
In the years I taught, i noticed how the not-so- subtle shift to high stakes testing through NCLB did the opposite of what it was intended to do. I am shocked and disappointed that your corporate support the CCSS, coupled with high stakes testing, will do nothing to change the educational landscape for the better. In fact, I left the profession because I can be a hypocrite no longer- I can’t in good conscience stand in front of my class and try to teach them while knowing that a test score will define them and put them in a box that will define their future. I urge you to reconsider your position on high stakes testing. High stakes tests hurt kids! High stakes tests are used to fail children. High stakes test results are JUNK Science! High stakes tests JUNK science is used to close schools! High stakes are used to fail schools. High stakes are used to fail teachers. High stakes cause kids to drop out. High stakes cause kids to stress and get sick! High stakes have no empirical evidence to support their use! High stakes narrow curriculum! High stakes lessen creativity!
All high stakes testing does is perpetuate a two-tier educational system where the haves will continue to have the best education that money can buy, and the rest of us will continue to get the scraps from the table. All high stakes testing does is create a guaranteed source of profit for the main corporate investors, of which your company is a part of. All high states testing does is reduce children to numbers in a system where the odds are stacked even higher against an increasing population of the working poor.
If you want to give poor kids just like me a chance to get to college and make something of themselves, high stakes testing is not the way to go. How many students living in abject poverty could benefit from the food resources purchased from the cost of scoring just one standardized test? How many students denied medical or dental care could get treatment from the cost of scoring 100 standardized tests? How many transient families could be helped to move into homes from the cost of scoring 1,000 tests? How many more teachers could be hired to teach in low-income. title 1 schools for the cost of scoring 10,000 tests?
Lastly, please consider how would the test have evaluated you and decided YOUR future as a teen? Remember, “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school–”Albert Einstein.