To the Editor:

Standardized testing mandates are hurting children across our state.

In the last several years, Ohio lawmakers have insisted on a dramatic increase in high-stakes standardized testing. This year, with the introduction of the PARCC standardized tests, students will be required to devote an unprecedented amount of time to state-mandated testing sessions. The average fourth grader will take 8 PARCC (Language Arts and Math) sessions and 2 AIR (Science and/or Social Studies) sessions, totaling 12.5 hours of testing over 10 school days. A sixth grader will take 9 PARCC sessions and 2 AIR sessions, totaling more than 13 hours of testing over 11 school days.

While the total days given to actual testing seems bad enough, this does not include time that must be spent on preparation. With teacher evaluations and district ratings based on scores, schools have no choice but to tailor lessons to match the state's one-size-fits-all tests. Teachers in all grades and subjects find themselves having to set aside research-based, best-practice lessons in order to push lessons geared towards test preparation.

The educators in our districts share a common goal: we want what's best for our students. We seek to provide students with an education that will be the springboard for a successful future. Together we seek to create thoughtful, creative, determined minds that will lead to a better future. We may be small districts, but the hopes we have for our students are anything but small.

The current push for standardized testing in our schools is a roadblock in the path towards real education. The lawmakers requiring more testing are simultaneously giving less thought to what practices will best serve students.

Childhood is precious. The window in which we can instill a love and appreciation for learning is short. Every second we spend on standardized testing and preparation is a second spent working against the best interests of our children.

Parents, if you believe as we do that your child deserves better than a school experience centered around standardized testing, contact your state lawmakers. Senator Randy Gardner has publicly stated his interest in ending Ohio's overreliance on standardized testing; we urge you to support him as he takes a stand for our state's students. With your help, we can work towards a better education and a brighter future for Ohio's children.

Education associations from Eastwood, Lake, Genoa, Oregon, Oak Harbor, Port Clinton and Woodmore

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