LEWISTON — Maine’s acting education commissioner, Tom Desjardin, visited teachers at Montello Elementary School on Thursday to talk about testing and the letter grades the state gives schools.

Teachers said the grades don’t reflect the school but do reflect whether the students come from rich or poor families.

In May 2014, the school received a F grade.

It doesn’t represent the work teachers do, teacher said.

“We’re really good,” Emily Talmage said.

Poor grades hurt morale and send the wrong message about schools, teachers said.

They also said students are “tested to death,” that the Maine Educational Assessment “is a bad test,” and they waste class time on the test instead of teaching what students need.

Desjardin listened and said test data help him determine where to send money, but their views will be considered as tests and school grades are re-evaluated.

A growing number of parents are concerned there’s too much testing and are  opting out of having their children take standardized tests.

That’s a message, teachers said.

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