Good evening all
Did you know the government can cause harm to students?
Now go back to when you were in school and think about all those big benchmark exams. Bubbling in those twenty four questions deciding if it's A or B while your hands are aching. As I stand here in front of you all today, thinking back to when I was bubbling in Tamir Harper. Which is the only information they would ever know about me because there is know section where I can bubble in that I am A Philadelphia Youth Commissioner. Now come back and imagine instead of those big benchmark exams, they are projects where you are able to collaborate with your peers and ask for help when needed. Project base means exactly what it says.
So now lets discuss an important topic for students, parents and educators everywhere. Know I'm not here to discuss funding in schools or why school sucks but I am here to discuss something that is equal to that. Which is Standardized Testing. Yes, Standardized testing is just as big as funding our schools or stopping bullying. But this affects everyone.
I begin advocating for youth once I became a student at Science Leadership Academy, a Philadelphia magnet school which focuses on Project Based Learning.
Standardized test affect everyone even students that have low funding in their schools or getting bullied or students like myself that go to project based schools.
You are forced to sit in front of a test that measures how smart you are. How your teacher have been teaching through the year and your capabilities. Why? That's a question that I have been asking for about 6 years now. Why do I have to sit here in front of this test? I now know the answer. Do you?
Its to measure out how smart you are. Why? I don't know. Do you? I have been wanting to know this answer because this is not the only way the government can figure out how smart you are. Instead of sitting in front of a test how about they test your creativity by making you create an amazing project or by asking you to go teach a first grade class. There's other ways. These test does not do anything except make you feel as dumb as a rock and make you feel as though you were cheated out of an education which is not the case.
As a student I have experienced all of those problems. As a middle school student I was one of the last students and the most frustrated student during the Standardized Test.
But know. The Government likes it there way. Did you know in the state of Pennsylvania you are required to pass Keystones in order to graduate high school? After the PA government decided to put this rule in effect The School District Of Philadelphia projects a forty three percent decrease in graduation in the school year of 2016-2017. Already the district graduation rate was only at sixty five percent. With that project it will decrease to twenty two percent.
Lets make a change. Lets not make our students go through this emotional journey. This is not fair this is not okay and change must be made to the laws of Standardized Testing.
A good friend of mine Seyni Ndaw once said. ¨I am more than a standardized test because... A test score does not determine my learning journey.¨ But once PA determined that High School students were not able to graduate without passing test. It defined her learning journey in a classroom.
Why are we making our students stress about a Standardized test? Why are we making students stop learning for five weeks just to do test prep? Why? We could be using those five weeks to prepare them for next year or maybe prepare them for life. But instead we cover classrooms up and make students feel like trash.
I want everyone here today to go and ask a youth how they feel about standardized testing. Go to your Mayor and Governor office to challenge them on different laws on Standardized Testing. Government officials I challenge each and everyone of you to sit in a classroom and take a standardized test.
- Testing does not define me, my goals or my creativity.