Wednesday, March 20, 2013
#Slice2013: Day 19 of 31 - Risk Aversion
I've recently engaged in multiple lively conversations about the revolt against standardized testing with several colleagues and friends. Each time I find myself on my soapbox, the reactions and responses are similar.
"We can't tell parents about the Opt Out Movement. We'd lose our jobs!"
After 100 years of industrial brainwashing, most educators are risk averse. We don't like rocking the boat. We don't like causing a ruckus. And we certainly don't like putting our jobs on the line.
I get it.
Our livelihoods are at stake. Taking a stand might cost us more than we are willing to give.
My husband once told me we promote what we permit. Unfortunately, I've been promoting something I don't believe in. Every time I tell a child their test score matters, I'm not living out my convictions. There is a gap between my aspirational values and my practiced values.
Fear and scarcity have wrapped a thin film of terror around educators, and we are all afraid to take action. We are held hostage by an archaic, unreasonable testing system that demoralizes our profession and causes all of us to lose sight of the real reason we became teachers in the first place.
So what small steps can we take? Can we be a part of the movement without taking risks? Do our students deserve better? How much longer will we sit back and let bureaucrats and legislators call the shots?
During the next several weeks I will passively administer our state test, secretely harboring vicious thoughts and anti-testing sentiments. Does this make me a chicken?
Yep. I think it does.