aTo the Editor:
Where’s the leadership?
In a letter concerning the STAR testing that I passed out yesterday for my third grade students to take home to their parents, BUSD Superintendent Lawrence states, “We believe that test results provide valuable information for both you and for the school.”
I am wondering who is the We to whom Superintendent Michele Lawrence refers. It must be the administration, or perhaps the School Board or perhaps the State Board of Education. It certainly does not refer to the teachers.
Several hundred Berkeley teachers signed the letter that the Planet published Monday that opposes the use of these tests and finds their use harmful to the educational process. If the teachers, who actually have the day to day responsibility for the education, do not find the tests useful, perhaps Supt. Lawrence and the others to whom her We refers, can explain their usefulness.
Further, she urges parents to see to it that their students get a good night’s sleep and eat a good breakfast before the tests. She urges that parents discuss the importance of children doing their best. Why this admonishment now? How about the rest of the year?
Next week my students will have new pencils. Next week I will have help in my classroom and particularly with disruptive students. Next week there will be snacks for students. Next week there will be extra efforts made to diminish unnecessary disruptions. While all of these are more than welcome, it only serves to illuminate the fact that we (yes even in Berkeley) are being run by the tests and that tests are what matter to the administration.
I believe that Ms. Lawrence and virtually all administrators understand the negative impact of the tests. After all, they were once teachers. It is time for them to speak out, in public and declare that the emperor has no clothes.
- Joseph Brulenski