Friday, June 08, 2012

59 Schools' Parents Boycott Field Tests for High-Stakes Exams, demanding more teaching less testing

Too many Democrats are on the same side as Republicans on this issue, and these parents have figured out one of the ugly reasons why: constant redundant testing puts money in the pockets of testing companies which they then use to buy politicians to require more testing.

These parents bypassed the politicians and went directly to the source of the problem: they protested at the testing company.

Like the Occupy Movement, to get action to stop education "reform" that is destroying our public schools so for-profit charter and management companies can take over, we need to go to the source, the companies buying the corrupt politicians.

Pearson might make a good test case. Since it's clear even many Democrats are ignoring good policy on this educators have a simple way they can effect change themselves: Whenever they have an individual choice of textbooks or materials or are involved in purchasing decisions for their schools, districts, or even states, they should refuse to consider Pearson, and send them a brief letter saying why. Pearson also does a substantial business in college textbooks, so higher ed instructors can cut them off too.

Over time, educators should figure out which textbook, software, and other companies are pushing for these policies, and boycott them until education decisions are back in the hands of educators and those who put kids ahead of profits.

Parents across New York City and New York State, fed up with high-stakes and excessive standardized testing in public education, are boycotting the “stand-alone” field tests scheduled for middle and elementary schools this week. And many are joining a protest at the headquarters of Pearson, the state’s for-profit test development contractor, to demonstrate their anger as well.

From June 5th to June 12th , children across the state are being forced to give up learning time solely to serve the research purposes of billion-dollar test publisher Pearson, which has a $32 million contract with the New York State Education Department. But parents in 59 schools – an unprecedented number – are fighting back by refusing to allow their children to take these field tests.

In support, the Chancellor’s Parent Advisory Council (CPAC) passed a resolution on May 31 endorsing the boycott and urging all parents to opt their children out of the field tests. The Community Education Councils (CECs) of District 3 in Manhattan (Upper West Side) and District 20 (Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Borough Park, Kensington) in Brooklyn passed similar resolutions.

“All this testing is out of control,” says Dani Gonzalez, a Bronx parent who is protesting at today’s demonstration. “Real learning happens when children can explore and experiment and do projects, when they can read books and discuss them. All this testing is crowding real learning out of the classroom. My children can’t learn when all they do is prepare for tests and take tests.”