Opting Out

A friend, principal of a NYC school, just sent me this:

> Giving a test for which there is no established curriculum is absurd. Giving a test that all at Tweed are warning us many more children will fail is unconscionable, and abusive towards children. >
> If we can get large percentages of parents to opt out, from a variety of schools, the people who take the stand will have protection. I know that many of my colleagues feel that if we just wait out Bloomberg’s term, we’ll get some breathing room. But we are like the proverbial frogs in the pot of warming water, unable to see clearly just how outrageous this has become.

Maybe this is the time for organizing parents and schools t “just say no.” Meanwhile I’ll try to find out who you should contact.

11 Responses

  1. The original idea of tests was to help the teacher understand and help the pupil. Hijacked for political or accountability purposes has lost that meaning.

    Exams also – why not feed back where the pupil did well and where they misunderstood things or made mistakes?

    But the intention is not to help the pupil. It is for ‘bigger purposes’, but that forgets that the ‘customer’ is in fact really the pupil.

  2. Certainly here in the UK, education is overly tangle with politics. Politicians are too self-serving because of short terms of office, so tight accountability and fast change is what they gravitate towards. Books by Alfie Kohn highlight the many flaws in politically generated education policies. It deeply saddens me how far we have moved away from the understanding elegantly presented by John Holt.

  3. Where is the concept and skill oriented curriculum? When you teach that way; you can test that way – one short stint at a time. Teachers need more skill in diagnostic testing for mastery and retention and testing should not go beyond a small unit of classrooms with teachers working together on same curriculum goals. Keep it local and reduce money, stress and increase accountability. In the ‘good old days’ when strongly objecting to a uniform test that I had no input; I stacked seven heavy texts open to the ‘cons’ of uniform tests on the principal’s desk and never heard from him again!

  4. In New York City, Change the Stakes is working with parents who want to opt out. Contact us at http://www.Change the Stakes.org

  5. There is a wealth of info on opting out in NY here on our website at http://unitedoptout.com/state-by-state-opt-out/new-york/ thanks to Chris Cerrone who is our opt out leader in NY. He can be reached at nystoptesting@gmail.com .

  6. Opting out as a whole school came up at a round table discussion this morning at my kids’ school. Clearly, the parents want it desperately, mostly to free the teachers to pursue more engaging work in the classrooms. Even as the yearn to be free of those darn tests, however, they fear the risks in a city that places children into the next school level based on their test scores. Fourth grade parents in particular know that eligibility for nearly every middle school starts with state test scores. The principal too must surely be too fearful to take up that fight. Her school, already a small pool that wobbles with small data variabilities, could be severely penalized when the activist parents withdraw their bold children from the testing pool. We know we have to protest as a unity for it to work–for those risks to be mitigated–but getting to that point is clearly turning out to be a high-risk ask.

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