Fourth-grade firecracker gets standing O for feisty speech on testing

A fourth-grader making an impassioned plea against annual standardized testing to her local school board not only brought down the house, she brought the audience to its feet in an enthusiastic standing ovation.

Sydney Smoot, a student at Brooksville Elementary School in Hernando County, Fla., made her plea earlier this month, arguing that her grade shouldn’t depend so heavily upon a single test offered one time at the end of the school year.

“This testing looks at me as a number,” Smoot argued. “One test defines me as either a failure or a success through a numbered rubric.”

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