Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Please endorse and ask your CEC to approve the National Resolution against High-stakes Testing

The following resolution is modeled on a resolution that as of April 25 had been approved by 405 Texas school boards , by Palm Beach and St. Lucie school boards in Florida, and Community Education Council in D 30 in Queens. UPDATE: It has now also been approved by CEC 14, 20 and 21 in Brooklyn, and CEC 3 in Manhattan. 
The resolution was written by Parents Across America, in collaboration with the Advancement Project; Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund; FairTest; Forum for Education and Democracy; NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.; National Education Association; Race to Nowhere; Time Out From TestingUnited Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries and other organizations.  Diane Ravitch has written about it here; and Valerie Straus of the Washington Post here. As of today, just one day after it was publicly released, the national resolution has already been endorsed by more than 100 organizations and more than 2000 individuals.

We encourage organizations and individuals to publicly endorse the resolution ; and especially, to urge your Community Education Council to approve it, as adapted below. We have added two clauses, including urging the state to give parents the  right to opt their children out of standardized testing, which exists in many other states, as well as the public’s right to examine these exams after they are given, which the state has now decided to disallow. If your CEC or other organization does pass it, please let us know by emailing with resolution in the subject line; thanks!

WHEREAS, our nation's future well-being relies on a high-quality public education system that prepares all students for college, careers, citizenship and lifelong learning, and strengthens the nation's social and economic well-being; and

WHEREAS, our nation's school systems have been spending growing amounts of time, money and energy on high-stakes standardized testing, in which student performance on standardized tests is used to make major decisions affecting individual students, educators and schools; and

WHEREAS, the over-reliance on high-stakes standardized testing in state and federal accountability systems is undermining educational quality and equity in U.S. public schools by hampering educators' efforts to focus on the broad range of learning experiences that promote the innovation, creativity, problem solving, collaboration, communication, critical thinking and deep subject-matter knowledge that will allow students to thrive in a democracy and an increasingly global society and economy; and

WHEREAS, it is widely recognized that standardized testing is an inadequate and often unreliable measure of both student learning and educator effectiveness; and

WHEREAS, the over-emphasis on standardized testing has caused considerable collateral damage in too many schools, including narrowing the curriculum, teaching to the test, reducing love of learning, pushing students out of school, driving excellent teachers out of the profession, and undermining school climate; and

WHEREAS, high-stakes standardized testing has negative effects for students from all backgrounds, and especially for low-income students, English language learners, children of color, and those with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, the culture and structure of the systems in which students learn must change in order to foster engaging school experiences that promote joy in learning, depth of thought and breadth of knowledge for students; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that [your organization name] calls on Governor Cuomo, the State legislature, Board of Regents, and the State Education Commissioner to reexamine public school accountability systems in this state, and to develop a system based on multiple forms of assessment which does not require extensive standardized testing, more accurately reflects the broad range of student learning, and is used to support students and improve schools; and

RESOLVED, that that [your organization name] urges the Governor and the State Legislature to approve legislation giving parents the right to opt their children out of standardized testing, a right that parents have  in many other states, including California;

RESOLVED, that the Governor and the State Legislature approve legislation giving the public the right to examine the state standardized exams after they are given, as existed in NY state before this year and is still required by the “Truth in Testing” law that pertains to other exams, such as the SATs; 

RESOLVED, that [your organization name] calls on the U.S. Congress and Administration to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, currently known as the "No Child Left Behind Act," reduce the testing mandates, promote multiple forms of evidence of student learning and school quality in accountability, and not mandate any fixed role for the use of student test scores in evaluating educators.

1 comment:

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