The Maryland State Education Association, the teachers’ union representing about 70,000 educators in the state, is spending about half a million dollars to promote the message that students are tested too much, which takes valuable time away from their learning.
“Anything that isn’t tested is put on the back burner,” one commercial begins. By that, the teachers mean extended science projects, computer labs, arts and music classes, and so on.
“This year, I felt like I was testing for months” … “approximately six weeks of my students’ time,” the commercial continues.
Betty Weller, the union’s president, and Elizabeth Ysla Leight, president of the state PTA, combined to write an opinion piece in the Baltimore Sun last month, calling for a reduction in testing time, a position they say accurately reflects the majority opinion in the state.
“Should a student’s ability to have a well-rounded education be crowded out by the increasing amount of time to prep for and administer not only PARCC, but hours upon hours of locally-mandated tests?” they ask.
“It is no wonder that according to a recent poll 95 percent of educators in Maryland think there is too much time spent on standardized testing,” they write. “Parents now list too much standardized testing as one of their top concerns about schools.
“If—like thousands of teachers, education professionals and parents—you believe it is time for real action to reduce standardized testing, join our movement by visiting [our website]. Let’s focus on what really matters for our kids by making less testing and more learning in our schools a reality.”