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Don’t waste precious school time with standardized testing | READER COMMENTARY

Peter Kannam, principal of Henderson-Hopkins School, talks with a student in a 5-7 grade classroom. Henderson-Hopkins Safe Center for Online Learning is a partnership with the Y in Central Maryland for 100 of the school's students grades K-7. October 14, 2020. (Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun).
Peter Kannam, principal of Henderson-Hopkins School, talks with a student in a 5-7 grade classroom. Henderson-Hopkins Safe Center for Online Learning is a partnership with the Y in Central Maryland for 100 of the school's students grades K-7. October 14, 2020. (Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun). (Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun)

Why is standardized testing being promoted in an already fractured school year (”Standardized testing in Maryland schools can wait,” Feb. 24)? Why is there a rush to test kids who have faced the stress of being virtual for over a year now?

I am a retired Maryland teacher of 40-plus years and mother of a current Maryland special education teacher. I have seen firsthand what stresses teachers in Maryland are under currently. I believe standardized testing at this point would be extremely harmful to students and teachers. For some students in the hybrid learning model, in-classroom time before the end of the school year is down to fewer than 30 classes. What is needed is support, routine and a chance for all to heal.

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Kids need normalcy and teachers need a chance to personally reconnect with the students. Any Maryland teacher will tell you what standardized testing days are like: arts and physical education classes delayed, rescheduled or canceled, lunch schedules often moved to other times and regular learning routines in the classroom are upended during testing. Have we forgotten that children in the virtual world have been in front of computers for hours on end? So, we want to do the same, just to get data?

Here are a couple of ideas that might be considered: How about waiting to test kids in the fall rather than wasting precious class time this spring? How about trusting teachers to provide benchmarks at the end of a unit that show what has been taught? This rush can only lead to more stress for students and I fear send dedicated educators out the door to other professions. Who will lose then? The kids!

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Melva D. Sunday, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

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