Susan Kay Anderson
Classroom Teacher, Keaau High School
Testimony for BOE 11-18-14 Meeting
Agenda Item IV:
Discussion on the Department of Education's consideration of deferring use of the Smarter Balanced assessment in the Educator Effective System (EES)
Please consider deferring the use of the Smarter Balanced assessment in the EES, the stakes are too high. The EES has created a climate of barbarity at schools akin to the climate of fear in existence during World War II in Germany. Teachers and their students must comply and score well....or else a "Final Solution" is in place as termination or pay freeze for teachers.
Students are more than a test score, more than a number. So are teachers. We need to stop gambling with students and educators and stop damaging lives. When a number or score determines the quality of student learning and work of an educator, American education is deadened and killed. Learning remains static, inflexible and unchangeable. When education, educators, and their students are denied a progressive or experiential process in the wide range of teaching and learning, then there are many problems which arise; namely injustice, bias, and unethical treatment by all and to all concerned. Teachers and their students are the most vulnerable victims of this abuse.
Test scores should be used as part of a continuum, and are meant as a diagnostic tool, not as an end point of learning and a way to punish teachers (withholding pay increases and even job retention). The stakes are too high with the value of test scores and EES ratings deemed more important than what learning is meant to be: progressive and a process. Life long learning, curiosity, exploration, and questioning (all cornerstones of an American democracy) are dulled, deadened, and killed by the continued use of the EES.
Please consider using the EES, student test scores and "teacher evaluation" activities solely for reflection and discretionary use by individual teachers and not as an instrument of torture and destruction to education, educators, and their students. Instead, please use funding to secure social services at the schools. We need counselors, librarians, alternative programs, healthy food, and facilities maintenance at the public schools, not more private contractors and their invented demands. Please put the funding there and not towards endless student testing and punitive evaluation of teachers. Treat teachers as other professional state workers are treated: full-time pay with benefits in exchange for a day's work spent educating citizens of the future.