By Tiffany Mouritsen Hess
Knowing what I know now, I would never have allowed my daughter to stay in her third grade class. I would have brought her home. It was horrible. We were blessed the next year, when our daughter had Mrs. G, one of the most talented teachers I’ve ever met.
My daughter was cowering in her 4th grade classroom, unwilling to participate and frequently bursting into tears. Instead of becoming impatient and frustrated with her, Mrs. G sent a note home that read something like this, “______________ is having a difficult time beginning this school year. She needs a soft friend to come from home each day to give her a little courage.” So, my daughter took her favorite stuffed dog to school every day. The teacher’s constant kindness and soft way made her feel safe and I no longer had to drag her out of bed each day. Pretty soon she was loving school again and excelling in her studies.
There was a boy in the class that had been in many of my daughter’s other classes, a troublemaker and none too bright. He was loud, inappropriate and obstinate, but when I went to help in Mrs. G’s class one day, this troublemaker opened my door and greeted me with a friendly “hello” and a big smile. He followed directions.
After school I stayed to visit and I just had to ask about this boy. What are you doing to help this boy? He is a different boy altogether. Tears came into this wonderful teacher’s eyes and she told me this, “I forgive all mistakes made the previous day. Every student gets a fresh start every single day.” Mrs. G’s students knew that every day was a chance to do better.
Kids wake up ALL THE TIME. Some do well in school from the beginning. It takes some until college before they understand the importance of education.
Data collection does not forgive. It does not give you the benefit of the doubt or give you a fresh start and a chance to excel each day. Instead, data collection makes certain that all your mistakes follow you forever.
High stakes tests and data collection do not benefit students. They do not benefit parents or tax payers. They don’t allow talented teachers the time or the freedom to excel. So, why do we have them? Why are we allowing them in our schools? Where is the pressure coming from? Education has become a multi-billion dollar business for the sake of business. Please, if you don’t understand that tests and data collection are a huge part of Common Core, do your homework. This is here. It’s not good for our children and needs to be stopped.
Tiffany Mouritsen Hess