When I Want To Know More...
...About Resisting to Standardized Testing
An always reliable and interesting source is FairTest. FairTest, The National Center for Fair and Open Testing, states as its mission working "to end the misuses and flaws of standardized testing and to ensure that evaluation of students, teachers and schools is fair, open, valid and educationally beneficial." As the nation's go-to organization on the ways tests are used, and the state and federal policies that have made testing a governing tool of our schools, FairTest provides thoughtful and timely information on everything from the number of colleges no longer requiring SAT scores for admission, to important new studies on the effects of test-based accountability.
FairTest is also our Town Hall for the growing national conversation on why these tests are so dominant, whether they are inevitable (which frankly people used to say), and what parents, teachers, policymakers and thoughtful community leaders can do to get rid of this system and replace it with more educational ways of assessing children. Without FairTest, many people might not know that it's unethical to base a major decision about a child (retention in grade, or promotion, for example) on the basis of a single test or test score. Without FairTest, many parents might still feel alone in watching their kids come to hate school when so much of the day is spent in test-prep drills.
And without FairTest, we might not know that the movement not just to speak up against the tests, but to opt out of taking them, is a huge national movement. For news on test resistance and on proposals to authentically reform our schools, I turn to Bob Schaeffer's weekly update of news from around the country. Who knew that New Mexico students walked out rather than take their state tests -- tests they knew carried no weight with colleges and took them away from their real studies. Who knew parents of young children in Maryland, Texas (!), New York, [add your state's name here] -- all said, "not my child." "You can't have my child's test score for your profits or for your bonus."
Reading Bob Schaeffer's capture of good news from around the country will lift your spirits, give you optimism and want you to personally thank all the teachers, parents, school board members, even legislators who are beginning to show some courage. You can subscribe at http://www/fairtest.org/weekly-news-signup. It's also impossible to read the now very long list of news accounts from across the country, but even sampling will give you a sense of the expanding geography of pro-child, pro-public-school activism that is not only challenging the testing system but envisioning better ways of teaching our kids!
See FairTest website for their many other important services on behalf of our children and their schools. Thank you Monty Neill!