Much has been said and written lately about testing and its impact on student learning.

As a teacher, high school principal and superintendent of schools for more than 42 years, the most important thing was not what I taught every day, rather it was what I learned each day that really mattered.

I learned that every child was different and special.

I learned that every child wanted to learn and grow and become something.

I learned that every child was born to be successful.

I learned that every child was easy to understand one day and a complex puzzle the next.

I learned that every child trusted me and needed my help.

While testing plays a role in learning, it is not the be all and end all. There is no test that can measure the entirety of any child. There is no test that accurately measurers creativity, desire, determination, and work ethic. A test is a tool to be used to measure a student’s growth but more importantly the potential for more growth.

Unfortunately, war has been waged on public schools by some wrong-headed politicians. We cannot lose that war, because our schools are just too important to be lost in a political game. The strength and dedication of our public school teachers will outlast the efforts of any politician whose interest and concern are generally a mile wide, yet an inch deep.

A school is not a place where you go to prepare for a standardized test or to hear what type of problem you are.

A school is a place you go that is magical. It is a place where you are cared for and nurtured and where you learn that you can explore and learn and grow into anything you want to be in a safe and caring environment surrounded by people who truly care about you.

Also remember good teachers do not see what you are on any given day. They see what you can be, and that is what is really important.

Dr. John Metallo is a retired teacher, coach, high school principal and superintendent of schools at a number of schools in New York state, including Albany High School, University of Albany and SUNY Plattsburgh. He lives in Slingerlands.