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Young test-takers are being abused

Ironically, I first saw an article citing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s pronouncement of the “death penalty” on failing Buffalo schools at the New York State Hot Air Balloon Fest – a slap in the face on Labor Day weekend.

Since 9/11, schools are akin to prisons. Doors are secured and locked. As principal, I review our safety plan and evacuation procedures. Despite the semblance of a penitentiary, “do no harm” is our belief.

Last year, third-graders were sentenced to the hot seat for 90 minutes a day three days in a row for the language arts tests. The punishment was repeated the following week for math. Requiring third-graders to remain seated and focused for 90 minutes is maltreatment and abuse, especially when the exams are minimally two years above their reading level.

We will not be making the determination about students moving to the “big house” (college) when they are only 8. The kingpins in state education “magically” predicted a 38 percent drop in test scores. This drop could lead to the pronouncement of the “death penalty.” How does poverty factor in to this statistical hocus-pocus? The $3 million given to U.K.-based Pearson to mass-produce these tests would have been put to better use addressing the poverty issues in our state.

Coincidentally, Pearson contributed $3 million to both the Democratic and Republican candidates in the last presidential election.

Jenny Holzer said it best: “Abuse of power comes as no surprise.” We, the people, realize that millions of dollars should have been appropriated to solve our issues of poverty, not for more hot air and political-speak. We, the people, want the maltreatment and abuse of children to stop. “Cuomolot?” Not so hot.

Margaret Borchert

Principal, Allendale Elementary

West Seneca