Thursday, December 11, 2014

Response to a recent Daily Camera article:

The Boulder Daily Camera recently ran an article relating to the potential consequences for school districts that did not achieve high enough participation rates on the CMAS tests this November.

In light of this, we thought it would be good to reiterate why we didn't participate. Rachel Perley wrote the following letter to the Daily Camera.

To the Editor:

I am one of a small group of Fairview High School seniors who organized the protest of the CMAS in mid-November. As you recently ran an article on the results and potential repercussions of only 16 percent of BVSD seniors taking the CMAS, I would like to clarify our main reasons behind our organized opt-out and protest. 

Our objective was to draw attention to the amount of time and money wasted in administering the CMAS. A state task force will review the CMAS this summer, so we found it necessary to act immediately and noticeably to induce change. 

During the protest, we collected 437 pounds of food to donate to Community Food Share and 20 boxes of school supplies to donate to the Family Learning Center. We did not sleep in; instead, we stood outside and demanded that we have a voice in our education while we worked to improve the Boulder community. 

As you can deduce from the student support of our opt-out, we students do believe that the perceived benefits of the test are not worth its cost. The state paid Pearson 36 million dollars to produce the CMAS. This same amount of money could have been used to pay 480 teachers’ salaries across the state.

In addition, the CMAS testing schedule interrupted our typical school schedule and caused us to lose almost two full days of instruction and learning time. 

The test also reflected material that is not required by the Colorado high school curriculum, including economics and geology. It is unreasonable to tie our teachers’ jobs to results from tests that cover material they are not required to teach.

We will not let the student voice die out of the discussion about using CMAS to measure student achievement in future years. We have been, and will continue, contacting our state and national legislators and school board with our perspective on this unnecessary standardized test.

Rachel Perley