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Letter: Tests being promoted are counterproductive

Tests being promoted are counterproductive

I recently visited a friend who is beginning another cycle of training for Montessori teachers in Western New York. Her name is Eileen Buermann and she has been at this endeavor for 35 years. Most of the Buffalo Bennett Park Montessori Public School early childhood teachers have been trained through Eileen’s program, as well as many private school Montessori teachers.

As an 80-year-old former public school teacher and Head Start instructor myself, and a parent of five children (with 11 grandchildren), I’ve seen everything. I have a hobby of visiting schools wherever and whenever I’m invited. I can tell you the City of Buffalo has Bennett Park and many other schools that are right up there with the finest I’ve ever set eyes upon.

I understand the frustration of the State Education Department with the test scores not measuring up. I do believe that the answers can come from consulting with the many, many people in our own community, such as Eileen, with her background and hands-on experiences with teacher training, the teachers themselves and in-school administrators who have been, and still are, in the trenches.

In addition, reaching out to students, former students and their families could prove to be invaluable. I am fearful that the type of testing that is being promoted presently is counterproductive. And the vocabulary – failing schools, dumping grounds, at-risk schools – is an exercise in name-calling that hurts Buffalo in major ways and is not fair.

Evelyn Starkey