About refusing these tests … a mom writes …
“Although I am 100% against it, and I have made my feelings clearly known to my husband, my son specifically asked that he be allowed to [take the] test … and my husband feels like we should allow him to do it.
I am beyond frustrated and want to SCREAM.
I saw my son’s Math teacher at a church function … I told her we were thinking of refusing …
She said, “DO IT! PLEASE!”.
She said someone has to be the first one, and others will follow.
I am caught between what I feel is right and what my son wants. It’s making me sick.”
Caught … between a rock and a hard place. Lots are. Especially kids.
Many parents agonize over the opt-out decision … particularly when they have a very confident … and very competent … youngster who’s anxious to show off his or her proficiency. Their talent. Their hard work.
This seems especially true with the math assessments. Some kids just want the show-down … the chance to shine.
And lots of parents … like this mom … know the inherent flaws of the entire assessment experience … and that refusing delegitimizes this testing farce … but they think this one exception … for just this one test … just this one time … might be okay.
Think again. It’s not okay. And there’s a larger life lesson here.
Sometimes we have to teach our children hard lessons. And … as they grow older … we have to help them understand that they’re not the center of the universe. That there are issues larger and more important than their wishes … larger than their comfort. And larger than their personal triumphs.
And that sometimes … being right and noble is very uncomfortable. And stressing. Especially if it involves going against some authority … or some peers … or one’s self-interest … for the very first time.
It’s an easy dilemma to understand … but not-so-easy to face. Even for adults.
Folks know these tests are educationally disruptive. Pedagogically flawed. Without scholastic merit.
They get that their child is the confident sort … and that he or she wants to ace those tests. Wants to showcase their mastery … and flash their talent.
I dig kids who dig challenges. I had kids just like that. They made me proud. Still do.
But sometimes there are longer-lasting life lessons that are very important … like refusing these tests. Lessons that shouldn’t be passed up … because their impact can travel with a child for the rest their life.
First, your child learns to champion others … even if it dims some of their own spotlight. And the world always needs more champions of that sort.
Second, your child learns to take the “first step“. That’s how leadership is learned. It’s how kids become bold and daring … and unafraid to stand by the virtues you helped instill.
Third, your child gains an understanding of the important process of resisting a wrong … and the uncomfortable feeling it sometimes creates. And how to manage that unease.
And last … and most important of all … it teaches your child that an injustice is still an injustice even when it never touches them. And that it requires them to act.
Now, tell me … over a lifetime … what lesson will have more permanence in that child’s character?
Shining for a moment on some bubble test? Or standing tall … so others can witness their integrity … and borrow their courage?