Gainesville kindergarten teacher Susan Bowles doesn’t quite fit the mold of a rabble-rouser. “I’m such a rule-following, non-activist type,” she tells me. “I hate speaking to anyone above the age of seven.”
But with the onset of a Florida law mandating that every kindergartener grind out a lengthy computer-based standardized test in the first month of school, Bowles began speaking out widely. New test-based teacher evaluations meant kids with little or no experience using computers or even taking exams were expected to post valid scores. “[The kids] didn’t care if they got it right or wrong,” says Bowles. “It wasn’t going to yield productive results.”
Moreover, Bowles estimated, the tests would gobble up six weeks of valuable instructional time. She wanted to forgo the tests, but school administrators warned that such an act of civil disobedience could get her sacked for insubordination. A 26-year teaching veteran, Bowles lost sleep over what to do. A verse from the Book of Esther echoed in her head, reminding her of her responsibility to act: “And who knows but that you have come to your…position for such a time as this?” Common Core really stinks. Read more here.