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Action Alert! Cancel ALL State K-12 Exams Now -- Testing Resistance & Reform News: March 16-24, 2020

Pressure from grassroots activists and a bipartisan group of policymakers has forced President Trump and Education Secretary DeVos to allow states to suspend federal standardized exam requirements in the wake of the coronavirus. To protect public school children, educators and their families, state leaders must now be pressed to:
  1) Apply immediately for waivers of federal assessment mandates by filing a formal request with the U.S. Department of Education to be relieved of Every Student Succeeds Act testing obligations; AND

States Must Apply for Federal Testing Waivers; Eliminate All Other Testing Requirements

Pressure from grassroots activists and a bipartisan group of policymakers has forced President Trump and Education Secretary DeVos to allow states to suspend federal standardized exam requirements in the wake of the coronavirus. But to completely eliminate Spring 2020 testing, state leaders must
  1) file formal requests with the U.S. Department of Education to be relieved of Every Student Succeeds Act testing mandates for this year, and
  2) lift all requirements for state-required testing by legislative action to amend state laws or by executive order

FairTest Statement on 2018 NAEP Result Release

for further information:     

State ESSA Plans: Uneven Progress Toward Better Assessment and Accountability

for further information:

Dr. Monty Neill    (617) 477-9792

Lisa Guisbond     (617) 959-2371

2017 National Grange High Stakes Testing Resolution

The National Grange has passed a strongly worded resolution against high stakes testing. It calls on the “U.S. Congress and administration to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (currently known as the "Every Child Succeeds 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.” Test-focused education has caused much harm in rural as well as urban and suburban schools.

Time to Learn Survey: Impact of Testing on Teaching and Learning

FairTest worked with the National Coalition of Urban Education Associations (NCUEA) Time on Learning Committee to develop a survey that teacher unions can use with their members to expose the consequences of high-stakes testing. It can be adapted for use by parent, student and community groups.

The survey is available at https://www.jotform.com/form-templates/2017-time-to-learn-survey.

Standardized Testing and Students with Disabilities

Does Inclusion in Testing Mean Inclusion in Meaningful Learning?

  1. Federal law requires 95% test participation, including for the vast majority of students with disabilities. (One percent of all students may be assessed to alternative standards with alternative assessments. Federal law leaves it up to each state to decide what to do if a school or district does not test 95%.) The theory is that full inclusion in testing will drive full inclusion in learning the “standard” academic curriculum.

Why You Can Boycott Standardized Tests Without Fear of Federal Penalties to Your School (Updated February 2018)

Parents and students often fear the threat that if they opt out of state exams, their school could lose funding. However, this is an empty threat: no school has lost funding because of opting out.

In fact, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) specifically authorizes states to allow parents to opt their children out of exams. Ten states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, North Dakota, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah and Wisconsin) have laws specifically allowing parents to opt their children out. None has ever been sanctioned.

Federal Law and Regulations on Opting Out Under ESSA (Updated February 2018)

(NOTE: For a print formatted PDF of this fact sheet click here)

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires that states assess 95% of all students, and 95% of each “subgroup” in every school with federally mandated annual state tests in English and math. It says that in calculating average school test scores, a school must include in the denominator the greater of either all test takers, or 95% of eligible test takers.

Fighting for Assessment Reform under ESSA

The federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the latest version of the long-standing Elementary and Secondary Education Act. It replaces the widely despised “No Child Left Behind.” The new law presents both opportunities and dangers for the testing resistance and reform movement.

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