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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

The things Standardized Testing Can't Tell Teachers

It that season of "Much To Do About Nothing" time!
It is that time of year again,
Leaders talk about SBAC results,
They shout that SBAC data out, as if they actually tell teachers something important.
Things these SBAC Scores won't tell Connecticut teachers.

Who did not eat dinner last night, or breakfast this morning,
Who is being physically abused at home.,
Who lost their sibling to violence last night.

Whose family is being evicted,
Whose parent is incarcerated,
Whose parent lost their job,
Whose parent has cancer,
Whose parents can't afford to pay the repair bills for their car,
Whose parent died last night.

Which child is being bullied in school,
Which child is being sexually targeted,
Which child's parent was taken by ICE last nigh,
Which child is feeling suicidal,
Which child is thinking about harming others.
Which child's house burn down last night,
Which child's parent is suffering from addiction,
Which child has no clean clothes to wear today.

Whose school has no art teacher,
Whose school has no music teacher,
Whose school has no librarian,
Whose school has no recess,
Whose school has no time for play.

What do SBAC Scores tell teachers?
Nothing actually useful.
Things SBAC doesn't tell teachers,
The color of a child eyes,
If a child is living in Trauma,
What a child could learn in a public school system where teachers and children are given the resources and supports needed to succeed.

How do I know this?
Is it because I have A PhD. in Language, Literacy and Culture?
NO, it is because,
I was a homeless child,
I was a hungry child,
I was a cold child,
I had was a child with no,
Gloves, or
I was a child living in trauma once.

No test ever fed me,
No test ever gave me a bed,
No test ever gave me a,
No test ever told me things will get better.

But, a teacher once,
Fed me lunch for a year,
Told me things will get better,
Gave me a,
New coat,
New gloves,
Warm socks.

A teacher who stepped outside his classroom.
A teacher once visited my mother at the train station lobby we were sleeping in.
Mrs. Turner, I am sorry to hear you living through some bad times,
Mrs. Turner, I am sure things are going to get better,
Mrs. Turner, may we talk about Little Jess?
A teacher came to talk with my mother, not down to my mother, but with her.

He said "Mrs. Turner, forgive me, I called your daughter Jessica today,"
We talked about when she was in my class,
We talked about married life,
We talked about Little Jess,
Mrs. Turner, she talked with her husband James,
They both would like to help Jess out. Jessica and James want to take young Jess into their home until you can get back on your feet.
Your Jessica, said my mother is proud,
This isn't charity, this is family.

What can a teacher do for child living with trauma?
Sometimes when the stars are aligned, A teacher can change a child's world.

I was this young child,
I would live for the next 8 years in his sister's loving home.
Homelessness and Poverty are cruel and difficult to climb out of.
It took eight years, but Momma climbed out, and her son would live with her in her loving home, and earn two college degrees in her house of love.

Things a teacher know,
Teachers know how to make a difference.
Teachers are my heroes, and
Family is my rock. 
How do I know what teachers know?
A teacher once saved my life.

What this teacher knows?
No Standardized Test ever saved any child's life.
Dr. Jesse P. Turner
Moral Monday Connecticut Education Ambassador

If you are wonder which song inspired my morning walk today...its Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's song sang by Barry Lane


  1. Thank you for this post - this prose. How beautiful and compelling. I love that it is a call for each of us as educators to be that teacher who makes a difference. Who sees through to the beauty that is inside each child. And I'm going to be humming "More Than a Number" for a long time!

  2. We are missing the forest for the trees. I was forced to resign and actually put on administrative leave for disagreeing with eliminating whole works of literature. Teachers need to come together to show how our students are missing out on a meaningful education. The argument for the test is that they are being more rigorous, but my story proves otherwise-- I was an AP senior literature teacher. I was told 2 telling things at the meeting where I was bullied: "you are not even suppose to teach literature" and "not everyone wants your education." My husband and I started Elite Literary Book Group and blog about this as well.

    1. Agree who wants this education that eliminates whole works of literature. Can you put the link to you blog here? I like to follow it.