Asking The Right Question

Parents may well find that there is currently a difficulty in getting straight answers from their children’s teachers as to what should be done with regard to “opting out” of the new, Common Core-aligned, exams that their children may be gearing up to take. On the one hand, it is basically impossible to miss the hue and cry that is being raised with regard to these exams. On the other hand, as public school employees, it is probably insubordinate to the point of reprimand for any teacher to tell parents what they should do with regard to their particular children’s testing (to say nothing of the fact that it would also be incredibly presumptuous). So, parents who ask school staff what they should do, will most likely be given the official party line, however begrudgingly it may be delivered.

That established, there is a different question that parents might ask that could actually generate a useful response. Simply ask your child’s teachers ”Would you let your own children take the tests?” It seems to me that this slight change in approach should be enough to assuage any concerns that any teacher might have about possible job-related repercussions, and leave them free to give an honest answer that will actually mean something to parents.

Please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. I am certain that there is as a wide diversity of opinion among educators as to the utility of these exams as has been seen in the larger public sphere. Any parent who asks the above, may well be met with an enthusiastic “absolutely!” But assuming you want to get an unvarnished, expert opinion that is removed from considerations of long-term job security, I do think that this approach is probably going to yield more genuine results than simply asking for advice that can't realistically be given.