I have heard through the grapevine that a teacher at my school is seriously considering refusing to give the ISAT test on Tuesday. Through that same grapevine, I’ve heard that another 2 teachers may be interested in doing so if they weren’t alone and I am seriously considering making it 4. It’s a tough decision. I like my school and my principal. My only real problem is with CPS. However, this is a chance to really make a statement about the over testing that we’re forcing on our students instead of teaching them.
Barbara’s Byrd-Bennett’s own email explains just why this is such a waste of valuable time. She wants us to give these tests in part because next fall, we’ll be able to see what some $10 an hour worker in a mini-mall who was evaluated on how many tests he graded thought of our students’ writing. There will be no information about where they were strong or weak and the students will have moved on to a new class, but that seems to be the only academic value of the test. The state has already made it clear that schools won’t lose funding because of low testing rates.
So, what do we as educators have to weigh? For me, it’s my home and my family. I can’t afford to lose my job. However, I know that if we have solidarity, the chances of this having much of a negative impact on my career are greatly reduced. If this were a movie, this would be our Henry the fifth moment. This would be the time when all the Hispanic children in Los Angeles walk out of their school or when Norma Rae shuts down the factory. We really have a chance to strike a blow for sanity in CPS’s testing policy.
Parents throughout the city and suburbs are opting out and it’s becoming a real avalanche of non-participation. We can stand and we must stand. I’m not sure if I can do it and I agree that it’s an individual’s choice, but I don’t want to be the person who meekly went to the back of the bus or turned around because British troops were blocking the road.