As summer winds down toward back-to-school season, there is ever more media coverage of the growing testing resistance and reform movement. At the same time, a pattern of reaction is emerging from the "stay the course" and "(testing) business as usual" camp.
Parents, educators, students and activists in many communities are using the "quiet" summer months to plan campaigns that will build the assessment reform movement's power once schools reopen. Across the country, more and more media outlets are reporting on the impact grassroots organizing already has made on policy-makers.
Remember that archived issues of these weekly updates are online at http://fairtest.org/news -- a quick review of the clips demonstrates how much progress Testing Resistance & Reform Spring made this year.
The accelerating testing resistance and reform movement is beginning to produce modest victories across the country. Reflecting constituent pressure, more politicians are speaking out against over-testing. A few have established commissions to investigate the problem (and solutions). Several state legislatures have voted to cut back the number of tests and reduced their consequences. Classroom teachers have pushed their national associations to adopt stronger positions. More news stories and opinion columns recognize the failure of test-and-punish policies and examine alternatives.
The rapid pace of strong news stories and commentaries about assessment reform campaigns continued uninterrupted through the long Independence Day weekend. More and more media outlets are reporting the widespread grassroots response to testing overkill: "Enough is Enough!" And, some politicians are starting to listen.
Yes, it is summer, and public schools across the country are closed. But you can't identify the season from the continuing heavy flow of news about testing controversies at the national, state and local levels. Activists know that there is no vacation from keeping the "heat" on public officials to replace high-stakes standardized exams with high quality performance assessments.
The big assessment reform news this week is at the national level, though there is still lots of state and local action as schools wind down for the summer, Reacting to the rising tide of opposition to the misuse and overuse of standardized exams, policy-makers and their major donors are backpedaling on plans to impose a new generation of high-stakes tests.
Now is the time for advocates to press the advantage by calling for an indefinite moratorium on testing mandates and adoption of performance-based alternative assessment systems.
There's no "summer break" for testing resistance campaigns as pressure builds on policy-makers across the nation to end standardized exam misuse and overuse. Note, especially, the political diversity of states with major activity. The assessment reform movement cannot be described accurately using conventional terms such as "liberal" vs "conservative" or "left" vs "right." Opposition to test-and-punish educational strategies spans the ideological spectrum
Another week of accelerating protests against high-stakes testing. If you find these news summaries useful for your assessment reform work, please contribute to help FairTest http://tinyurl.com/supportfairtest as suggested by Michelle Fine in her acceptance speech at last week's "Heroes in Education" awards presentation