Any notion that the new federal education law would slow the grassroots testing resistance and reform movement should be put to rest by even a quick skim of this week's headlines. From Alaska to Florida and Maine to California parents, educators and community activists are escalating pressure on state and local policy makers to reduce testing volume, eliminate high stakes and support better forms of assessment.
Testing overuse and misuse is damaging public education by eating up classroom time, narrowing curriculum and driving many students out of school. It is perpetuating a false narrative of failure and putting schools in low-income communities at risk of closure or privatization.
As the first of this issue's headlines makes clear, momentum is rapidly building across the U.S. for major assessment reform campaigns. The stories that follow -- from 15 states in a holiday-shortened week of news clips -- show the breadth and depth of grassroots activity.
Building on the strength of last year's successful opt-out campaigns and assessment reform movement, grassroots activists are already pressing state and local policy makers to use their increased power under the new federal education law to continue rolling back testing overkill in the first weeks of 2016.
Happy 2016 ! Across the U.S., the grassroots testing reform movement is gearing up to win more victories in the coming year. Look for larger, broader opt-out campaigns focusing more pressure on state and local policy-makers to roll back standardized exam overkill and enable better forms of assessment.
The week between Christmas and New Year's Day is supposed to be quiet. Not this year for the assessment reform movement, as this collection of news stories, opinion columns, and social media postings makes clear. Across the U.S., grassroots organizers are using this period to prepare for even more victories in 2016!
A controversial December 2015 memo from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) is the latest in a series of hollow threats suggesting that states, districts and schools could lose federal financial aid if parents, students or teachers boycott standardized tests. The memo cites several possible penalties for states with high opt-out rates, including withholding some federal funds that help pay for testing. But none of the funding sanctions would affect local schools.
President Obama's signature on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was barely dry when grassroots activists began pressuring states to take advantage of their new power to reduce testing overkill. Already New York and Oklahoma have responded by walking back reliance on standardized exam scores to evaluate teachers. To help ensure the national assessment reform movement has the tools to win many more victories in 2016, please consider making a year-end gift to FairTest