As a former student in public education years before high stakes standardized testing, as a former teacher around before and during the emphasis on standardized testing, as a parent of two daughters who had to go through ISTEP+ (Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress-Plus), as someone who has several relatives and friends in the profession, as a grandparent with a grandchild who could be a part of the standardized testing movement in the United States, I am extremely frustrated and upset.

Indiana's State Average Proficiency in all areas on ILEARN (Indiana Learning Evaluation Assessment Readiness Network), the new and supposedly better test than ISTEP+, was below 50% in all areas while 63% of our children failed English/Language Arts and Math combined. Something is terribly wrong and seems very contrary to Washington's new law, ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act, 2015-Present). It is not with our educators; it is not with our children. Anybody who actually has spent day after day in a school environment knows it is with a test that is costly in more than one way!

There have been issues for years. I have a folder full of letters to people at the state and national level expressing concerns noticed when giving the tests, binders of material cut out from magazines and newspapers related to problems with Indiana's ISTEP and later ISTEP+ as well as the former education law out of Washington, NCLB (No Child Left Behind, 2002-2015). In addition, I have attended meetings expressing myself and listening to many others doing the same, read books and watched several documentaries with heart-felt words from educators about how damaging high stakes standardized testing is to children, the education profession, schools, and communities. Sadly, the message is not getting across despite all the documentation.

I have been taking care of my grandchild for the first two years of his life and have been observing his brain at work every day learning from one quality experience after the other. When entering a school classroom, I want those quality experiences to continue. Frankly, I don't want him preparing hours for a test and then spending hours taking it. I don't want his teachers to have it on their already extremely full platter with the scores being a part of their evaluation and very responsible for determining their school's grade and consequently the grade of their community.

“My child is more than a test” is often what I hear when talking with parents, grandparents, and educators. It is the reason why I had a shirt made with a stop sign and the words “STOP THE TESTING-My child is more than a test.” I also wrote the following song when retiring after thirty-six years as a fifth grade teacher: