Friday, April 27, 2012

Major education, civil rights, and religious groups launch nationwide solution to roll back high-stakes testing; seek sign-ons from organizations, individuals

April 26, 2012 

"Inspired by a statement adopted by more than 360 Texas school boards, major national education, civil rights and parents groups have launched a resolution calling on federal and state policymakers to reduce standardized test mandates and, instead, base school accountability on multiple forms of measurement.
The initial signers include the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Parents Across America, National Education Association, United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries, Advancement Project, National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest), Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Forum for Education and Democracy. Other supporters include educators such as Deborah Meier and Diane Ravitch as well as community-based education groups in New York, Chicago and Charlotte.

The groups are seeking endorsements from other local, state and national organizations as well as individuals concerned with the rapid increase in time, money and energy devoted to exams used to make major decisions about students, educators and schools. Supporters can sign on at
Dr. Monty Neill, Executive Director of FairTest who helped coordinate drafting the resolution, explained,“The over reliance on high-stakes standardized testing is undermining
educational quality and equity across the U.S. The collateral damage includes narrowed curriculum, low-scoring students pushed out of school, and teaching to the test.”

“”By teaching to the test, we are depriving a generation of youth, particularly youth of color growing up in low-income communities, from developing the critical thinking skills they need, and our country needs, to be competitive in this global economy,” added Matt Cregor, Assistant Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund.

“Parents are fed up with constant testing,” concluded Pamela Grundy from Parents Across America, who helped lead a community revolt against expanding testing in Charlotte, North Carolina last year. “We want our elected leaders to support real learning, not endless evaluation.” 

The resolution urges state officials to “reexamine school accountability” and develop a system “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.” At the federal level, it calls on the U.S. Congress and Obama Administration to overhaul “No Child Left Behind” and “to 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.” The full text is online at"