As a leader of teachers and school employees, you probably think this letter is about the testing ad nauseam we are forced to endure in our classrooms.
And while there is considerable angst, our greatest anxiety is what this does to our students. The actual joy of school is being robbed from our boys and girls. For example, when the inclusion of enrichments is not important, when recess is suspended because we need to be back in the classroom, when we expect children to choke down a lunch in the name of maximizing class time, when we don’t let our students talk during lunch because that is a distraction, and now even taking away naps from our youngest.
We have turned our schools into a forced march.
Student achievement is increased when what we present is meaningful and relevant. Those extra minutes taken away each day do not help because students are exhausted thus disengaged; therefore, no REAL learning is actually taking place. We believe that teachers teach and students learn best in an environment which recognizes that school is more than an assembly line.
It is time for all of us to demand better for our children. A world awaits our children, it is our job to prepare them for all aspects of that world and that is more than testing. Let’s return the joy of school.
— Jackie Lansdale, President, Red River United, Shreveport