If we really want systems that help all students reach their full potential, we must allow educators, parents, students and communities to be a part of the process and have a stronger voice in the conversations around high-quality assessments that really do support student learning.
Educators are fed up with flawed accountability measures, and the new face of teacher unionism has its eyes fixed on changing the current culture of standardized testing mania. In a dramatic way, Seattle teachers and others are driving the national conversation on professional issues and school reform. Colleagues in classrooms across the country recognize the importance of this action and stand ready to support these educators in any way that we can. Solidarity.
Demanding fewer standardized tests in their children's schools, and more test transparency from the district, parents of children in 37 Chicago public schools gathered signatures before and after school today on a new petition created by the parent, teacher, student and community coalition, “More Than a Score.”
The More Than a Score petition has three demands:
- Eliminate standardized testing for children from preschool to 2nd grade and greatly reduce it for 3rd grade and above.
- End the use of standardized testing data to evaluate students and educators and to close schools.
- Fully disclose the cost, schedule, nature, and purpose of all standardized tests.
Rachel Lessem, whose child attends Pritzker elementary school, passed petitions after school today. “Something has to be done,” she said. “CPS says they have to close schools and disrupt communities to save money, yet they are spending untold millions of dollars on standardized testing instead of small class sizes and other important improvements that might actually help struggling schools.”
I think that point of wanting to see districts fully disclose the costs of all testing IS very important. If the district believes this important to their work, then tell us the costs and how you use the data. In detail.
This one is interesting because it is parent-driven.
From the Seattle Weekly:
In addition to broad concerns over what results of the MAP test actually reflect, the local branch of the NAACP has specific concerns regarding the Seattle School District using the computerized test to determine which students are placed in advance courses - a practice the NAACP says can lead to an "inequitable result" for children of color and those living in poverty.
"We have to evaluate whether or not this test leads to inequity," says Bible. "This is an important issue, and our kids are in the balance."
Now the district says (and the evidence is there), that they are finding more students of color qualified for advanced learning programs, not fewer.
In its critique of MAP testing, the Seattle King County NAACP also argues that tying up school computer labs for weeks at a time administering the tests can have a detrimental effect on poorer students who don't have the luxury of computer access at home. The organization contends that "this level of academic interruption is unacceptable."
Speaking for the District, Wippel acknowledges that MAP testing isn't perfect; she says no test is. Instead, she says testing is just one important part of the academic environment, while arguing that we owe it to our children to be able to measure and track where they're at and how they're progressing.
One Daily commenter:
DEAD GIVE AWAY, "Speaking for the District, Wippel acknowledges that MAP testing isn't perfect; she says no test is." This is the false narrative that corporate reformers have been painting teachers and parents and all who oppose them with, that they all want something that's "perfect". No teacher, parent or union leader has ever said that. Corporate reformers such as Rhee-ject were the first to claim this. This is the lie being told to divert attention from the fact based reasons testing and particularly test based teacher evaluations are opposed. Don't fall for it, slam them on the misrepresentation of the truth.
This person is right. "nothing is perfect", "a tool in the toolbox", etc. - all narratives to ed reform.
I am really pleased that this is about teachers, staff and parents standing up for what they are seeing in their schools and is not about the union at all. Frankly, the union is late to this party and while I'm sure they are delighted at the attention, it's the on-the-ground teachers we should listen to on this subject.