Friday, May 6, 2016

The Tyranny of Testing:  Houston Parents Resist!

Here in Houston, where we're embarrassed to admit all this high-stakes test-based accountability started (remember when W was governor and Rod Paige was superintendent of schools here?), parents are organizing against high-stakes testing and FOR reclaiming the mission of the public's schools:  to teach all our children well.

Community Voices for Public Education unites parents, teachers and friends of the public's schools to resist the harmful effects of the testing system (not just "the test," but the whole toxic system).  Knowledgeable about teaching and learning, astute about the power politics and big money behind the testing, and tireless in bringing people together from across this huge city, CVPE offers a forum for discussing the personal and the political in testing. 

Parents gather to strategize how to best protect their children while not making their children's good teachers and principals even more vulnerable if high-scoring children are the ones whose tests scores are "absent" from the accountability calculations. They make common cause with teachers in getting smarter about the legislative process.  And they've encouraged the creation of an OPT OUT Academy as a creative and educationally rich alternative to choosing among multiple choice answers for hours and hours on test days.

If you're in Houston, find a way to add your voice, and expertise, to Community Voices for Public Education.  And if you're not in Houston, find a way to organize with the parents and teachers who are kindred spirits where you live -- we have a legislative session coming up in January 2017 and bills are already being written.   And an election between now and then. The pro-testing, anti-public school folks are very organized and already at work looking for ways to cut funding for schools and teachers, shift our tax dollars to the charter chains and use kids' test scores to justify all these bad policies.   Opting Out takes away the data that keeps the "accountability system" going; organizing on behalf of real, equitable educational schools needs everyone who cares about our kids.

CVPE will be hosting another Opt Out Academy May 9-13 and provides an opt-out guide on their website as well.  Check out all their resources for parents and community resisting standardized testing of our children.

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