FairTest Commentary: Chicago Strike Echos High-Stakes Testing Resistance

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Bob Schaeffer   (239) 395-6773
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for immediate release, Tuesday, September 11, 2012

CHICAGO STRIKE ECHOES NATIONAL HIGH-STAKES TESTING RESISTANCE; EDUCATORS, PARENTS AND COMMUNITY ACTIVISTS SEEK ASSESSMENT REFORMS NOT DRIVEN BY STANDARDIZED EXAM RESULTS

The Chicago teachers strike is the latest example of the growing national resistance to failed, top-down, test-driven educational policies, according to the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest). 

“Across the nation, parents, teachers, and school leader are rising up to say ‘Enough is enough’ to so-called reforms based on standardized exam misuse,” explained FairTest Public Education Director Bob Schaeffer. “From Texas to Long Island and Washington to Florida, people with first-hand knowledge of the damage being done to academic quality and equity are pushing back against the out-of-touch politicians and their funders who insist on doubling down on strategies that have not worked.“ Schaeffer is the author of “Resistance to High Stakes Testing Spreads,” the cover story in the current issue of District Administration magazine.

FairTest Policy Analyst Lisa Guisbond added, “The Chicago strike is the tip of the iceberg of teacher frustration with policies that blame educators for problems largely caused by the impoverished settings in which their students live and the city’s own misguided polices. Instead of punishing front-line teachers, policy makers at the city, state and federal levels must be held accountable for their failures to create conditions in which all children can learn." Guisbond recently wrote "New School Year: Doubling Down on Failed Ed Policy"

FairTest Executive Director Monty Neill concluded, “The attempt to improve Chicago schools through increased use of high-stakes tests over the past 20 years has been a colossal failure. The damage is worst in classrooms serving the city’s neediest children. Mayor Emanuel’s scheme to evaluate classroom educators based on their students’ test scores, a technique independent experts say is severely flawed, is certain to make the situation worse.” Dr. Neill will be a speaking on a panel on “How do we measure teacher performance?” at the “Schools for Tomorrow Conference” on Thursday morning, September 13 in New York City.

FairTest initiated the National Resolution on High-Stakes Testing, which was cosponsored by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries, and Chicago Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE), among other groups. So far, more than 400 organizations and 12,000 individuals have endorsed the Resolution.

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