Letter To the Editor: A Call To Arms

By ZACHARY GOLDSTEIN
Los Alamos High School Junior

Parents, teachers, community members and fellow students, it is time to unite and take a stance on New Mexico’s careless state of testing.

Recently, there has been much controversy in regards to the newly implemented Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test or (PARCC), which students all over the state, myself included, will be taking this March. The PARCC is officially replacing the New Mexico Standard Based Assessments (NMSBA) this year.

You may or may not be surprised to know that New Mexico’s recently confirmed Secretary of Education, Hanna Skandera, serves on the PARCC governing board. A handful of other New Mexico officials also have ties to PARCC Inc. and Pearson PLC, who has been contracted to administer the test.

According the PARCC website, it will cost the state approximately $24 plus administrative fees to administer the test to each student, on a computer for God sakes. Additionally, the tests are being used primarily to evaluate New Mexico teachers and schools, and in some cases, the PARCC has no impact on students whatsoever. That’s right! New Mexico officials are going to recklessly spend yet even more tax dollars on unnecessary testing, but not to benefit students! This news is leaving many teachers and school officials feeling anxious and apprehensive.

Students, teachers and parents alike are fed up with the excessive amount of standardized testing. Just earlier this week, more than 200 Santa Fe students walked out of class in protest of the test. The voices of the people are no longer being heard or fairly represented in our state government, and all while our elected officials are pushing their own education agendas.

The PARCC test absorbs several hours of instructional time, which would be much better spent teaching new material to students. To top it all off, the PARCC will largely be administered electronically in a format that many students are not familiar or comfortable with. Prior to this year, all of New Mexico’s assessment tests have been issued on paper. From what I can tell, the implementation of this testing has been poorly conducted from start to finish.

Now is the time to unite and make a statement to Governor Martinez and Secretary Skandera! This over excessive implementation of testing is a blatant overreach of government, and a squandering of taxpayer dollars!

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