In a few hours I will join other educators from around New York State at a rally at the state Capitol to protest the current destructive policy of subjecting our students to relentless testing. Since the Truman Report in 1947 nearly every president has had something to say about public education. Many of these commissions while well intentioned have concluded that we are a nation at risk due to a poor system of public education. The most recent iteration of this political focus has been the Common Core.
The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.
— Mission Statement from Common Core
Despite the good intention of the policy and even those who crafted it the result has been the emergence of a high stakes testing environment that is actually destroying public and private education in New York State and elsewhere with its over reliance on testing. This culture of stress and testing is harming our students who are the future of our country. I’ve never seen children so stressed and at such an early age.
I’ve long been an advocate for social justice and this is one of the issues that cries out for those of us who can speak and can rally to be a voice for those who cannot. Today those of us who have come to Albany, New York will rally for the hundreds of thousands of students and teachers who could not come. We stand in the gap on behalf of our beleaguered constituents. The prophet Ezekiel gave voice to this thousands of years ago.
“I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land.
Today we join the prophets of old as we stand in the gap on behalf of teachers and students everywhere and implore the policy makers to end this oppressive plague upon our children and our schools.