APRIL IS THE CRUELEST MONTH
The timing of our launch of Educating. All Our Children. requires we begin where the children are this month: locked into silent classrooms, in row-ordered desks, divided by stands of white board, hunched over answer sheets or computer screens, contributing their labor to the profits of big testing companies.
Or should we say, the children sit captured in concentrated efforts to assure their teacher keeps her job, their principal gains a bonus? Or, we see the kids working for stars: how many stars, how many A or B ratings, will they need to keep their school open? Is this a word problem, requiring our close reading of the text? Or is it simple math? If so, why the complicated statistical formulas essential to the scoring but understood by almost no one?
Educating. All Our Children. will look back into where these tests comes from? How did they become “high stakes? And who decided? And what can we do about them?
But because this very week, the children are in “the testing season,” it seems most timely to get to the good news: this is also the season of “test resistance.” Students are demanding to be taught, not to be tested. Parents are “opting out” of the testing, refusing to let their children become “data points” in the testing machine.
Here are three great resources for keeping up with the resistance:
- Can resisting high stakes tests really be a national movement? Bob Schaeffer, for FairTest, captures stories from across the country: “Testing Resistance and Reform.”
- There is even an OptOut map by The Movement to End Corporate Education Reform -- to see who in your area is “opting out” and how you can put your own community on the test-resistance map!
- Diane Ravitch’s blog offers a national forum for the stories of parents and teachers challenging the system, as well as her own keen insights into this strange “reform” system.