If you are in Pennsylvania, and you care about the proliferation of our lousy Keystone and PSSA tests (our version of the federally-mandated Big Standardized Tests), then you have not just an opportunity, but an obligation.
The PA State House Education Committee is having public hearings about the state of PA testing next Wednesday, July 29 (10AM in room G50 of the Irvis Building, 450 Commonwealth Ave, Harrisburg, if you're in the neighborhood).
But if, like me, you have a life and obligations and commitments and you can't make it to harrisburg, there is an alternative. From our friends at Opt Out PA:
If you are an educator or district administrator in PA with a unique view on the negative impacts on high stakes testing, please consider submitting written testimony by Monday the 27th to the following contact: Jonathan Berger, Executive Director, Education Committee (R) PA House of Representatives at firstname.lastname@example.orgAsk that your comments be entered into the hearing record, and your testimony will be disseminated to all committee members prior to the hearing. For resources on relevant legislation and opting out of high stakes tests visit http://optoutpa.blogspot.com/
So, I know what I'm doing over the next few days.
I have no idea what the outcome (or intended outcome) of the hearing is supposed to be, nor how much attention the letters will receive. But even if they aren't read, handing a legislature a giant stack of print-outs with the note that they're all opposed to testing-- well, that matters.
It's easy to argue that there's no point in speaking up because the game is rigged and the outcome is already set. Maybe. But I still don't want to imagine the folks railroading education being able to say, "Well, we asked, and nobody said anything, so we figured it was okay." It's like the old sports saw about the number of shots you don't take. People who speak up may not always be heard, but people who don't speak at all go unheard 100% of the time. We should shoot for the better odds. Write a letter before Monday.