There are over 3 million public school teachers in the United States.
I know that many of those teachers are upset by the excessive focus on testing brought on by No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. I know that many, many public school teachers would like to see us take a more rational approach to testing -- an approach where testing is used for classroom and instructional diagnosis rather than for ranking schools or evaluating teachers. I know that many, many public school teachers would like to see us spend less time on testing and test-prep and more time on learning.
So where are all those voices?
Why haven't they signed the National Resolution on High Stakes Testing?
The resolution currently has about 10,600 signatures. Even if all of them were from public school teachers (which they are not) it would be about 1/3 of 1% of all the public school teachers in the country.
The resolution was based on another resolution passed by more than 360 Texas school boards as of April 23, 2012.
It was written by Advancement Project; Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund; FairTest; Forum for Education and Democracy; MecklenburgACTS; Deborah Meier; NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.; National Education Association; New York Performance Standards Consortium; Tracy Novick; Parents Across America; Parents United for Responsible Education - Chicago; Diane Ravitch; Race to Nowhere; Time Out From Testing; and United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries.
The resolution calls on states to develop assessments systems which...
1) do "not require extensive standardized testing"
2) reduce "testing mandates" and "promote multiple forms of evidence of student learning and school quality."
The resolution was written by a group which includes the National Education Association. Why haven't all of NEA's state affiliates signed on to this? Why haven't all of NEA's local affiliates signed this?
Three of the four local teachers associations in my county are affiliates of the Indiana State Teachers Association and the NEA. Only one, Fort Wayne Education Association, has signed the resolution. Where are the others?
10,000 individual signatures is not enough. We need millions!
400 group signatures is not enough. We need thousands.
We need to show the nation that the excessive emphasis on testing has gone too far. We need to send a message to legislators around the nation that there are hundreds of thousands of us who will vote for people to end the testing madness.
Get your colleagues to sign it. Get family members to sign it. Get your state and local association affiliates to sign it.
Mrs. Mimi told a story about trying to get a struggling second grader to finish "the test." While proctoring her class during "testing season" Mimi noticed something was wrong with one of her students...
Mimi: (noticing...one friend, a friend who struggles in reading... I mean STRUGGLES) (kneeling down and whispering) Are you okay?It's time for us to get back to learning.
Child: (tears streaming down face) (STREAMING!) I just can't do it anymore. (Is your heart breaking yet?)
Mimi: I know it's hard, sweetie, but you just have to do your best.
Child: The words are just too hard. I'm not smart enough.
Mini: (trying not to let tears stream down my face because I have to get this kid to try and finish) Just try a few more and then we'll stop.
Child: And we'll go back to learning?
Mini: (choking back sob) Yes, honey, we'll go back to learning.
Stop the Testing Insanity!