Read. Share. Write a Letter to Your Department of Education.

I was finally able to get a meeting with my student's mom who had a medical emergency after the reading OAAs two weeks ago. She released his name and story so I can send this off to Columbus. Please repost and share. This is too important to ignore.

An open letter to our senators, representatives, educators who have had enough, educational advocates who feel the same, parents, and people who care:

Danny has been a bright spot in my room since the first day of school. Every day, he greets me at the door with a shy smile on his way to his seat to work diligently on his morning work. Danny has always been the student to tell us something more in science. As we studied crystals during our cold winter months, Danny told the class before I could by raising a quiet hand:
“Did you know that crystals can multiply? Multiply means that something gets bigger."
He looked around the room as he explained. I saw a future teacher, science professor.  He lights up when he shares his knowledge to others and I can’t help but smile every time.

Danny is a model student. In a class of other kids with varying challenges and at different levels, he is kind to his peers and polite to adults, even when my science doesn’t go in depth enough for his knowledge or if I teach a different way to solve a double digit math problem as he can do them all in his head. He tries to be patient when he can and always follows school rules but thoughtfully and respectfully questions something if he doesn’t see direct logic in it. All signs of a lifetime learner with loads of potential to grow.

During the Ohio Achievement Assessment, Danny was not himself. As other 3rd graders labored through the test with heavy anxious sighs, Danny started to breathe heavily, rubbing his eyes methodically. I stopped him several times and asked if he needed a break. “No I’m fine,” he replied, and continued to move his pencil under every single word in the 5-page story he was being graded on.
When his breathing became worse, I urged him to stop.
“Danny, you don’t have to do this. Let’s just be done.”
He started to cry, heartbreaking tears from a student I had never seen upset, and muttered, “I want to finish, Ms. Ronau.”

Danny is a bright kid, one of the brightest I have seen spanning two school districts across three separate school years. However, a test that is meant to measure what he knows brought him to a medical emergency.  Danny was not able to calm down. He was rushed to the emergency room after his mother picked him up early from school. He was unable to return to breathing regularly on his own and was so distraught that he continued to scream and cry throughout the rest of the day. It wasn’t until several hours after the test that he was able to calm down, and needed a medical doctor’s assistance to do so. His mother stated that she has never seen her son so upset.

                This is an important story to remember. We have somehow forgotten that these are children and testing these students to the point of breakdowns is callous, cruel and extremely inappropriate. As an educator and an advocate of all children, I urge you to start investing the millions of dollars spent on these assessments into a better way to measure our children without making them sick.  A bright, happy, well-adjusted 3rd grader who loves attending school doesn’t deserve this, and, frankly, none of us do.