In Hamden, west of Farm Brook Reservoir, is a meadow. Once the meadow belonged to dairy farmer Harold Hansen but the State of Connecticut, having engineered the reservoir as a watershed more than 40 years ago, came to oversee and maintain the property. Butting the northern section of West Rock Ridge, encompassed by hiking and walking trails, the meadow has been a refuge for many over the years. In one respect, the meadow is anathema to its place: a hilly pasture in a densely populated suburb of a densely populated city. Traverse the meadow in any season, though, and you feel as though you traverse as well our agrarian past. Haying grass still grows, stonewalls rib the woodland. There is silent, open space. And, at the heart of the meadow, high on the second of three slopes that fall gently east, as if placed just so by the hand of God, a bitternut.
Generalizations like “efficiency,” “accountability,” and “reliability” have been used time and again to describe the benefits of standardized tests. SBAC is no different. However, before Connecticut lawmakers authorize SBAC testing in Connecticut, they should understand what those terms mean for the parents, teachers, and, most significantly, students who will, day in, day out, live with the realities these terms eschew.