FairTest Press Release: New Poll Shows "Americans Fed Up with School-Test Overkill"

for further information:
Bob Schaeffer  (239) 395-6773
                   cell  (239) 699-0468

for immediate release, Wednesday, August 21, 2013

NEW POLL SHOWS “AMERICANS FED UP WITH SCHOOL-TEST OVERKILL”;
ANNUAL PDK/GALLUP EDUCATION SURVEY DOCUMENTS
GROWING OPPOSITION TO STANDARDIZED EXAM MISUSE AND OVERUSE;
ASSESSMENT REFORMERS CALL FOR NEW POLICY DIRECTIONS

A major survey released today shows that the U.S. public is increasingly opposed to politically-mandated standardized tests, according to the nation’s leading assessment reform organization.    

Reacting to results from the annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools, Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest), said, “Americans are clearly fed up with school-test overkill. Today’s survey data reinforce the message from the strikes, boycotts, demonstrations and opt-out campaigns against standardized exam overuse and misuse that swept the nation this spring. Across the country, parents, educators and community leaders are saying ‘Enough is enough’ to high-stakes testing.”

Among the key findings of the new poll:

      -     Only 22% of Americans – less than one in four – believe increased testing has helped the performance of local public schools.
      -     58% reject using student test scores to evaluate teachers.
      -     Almost two-thirds have never heard of the Common Core State Standards and related tests, and most of those who say they know about the Common Core do not embrace it.

Schaeffer continued, “It’s time politicians listen to their constituents instead of doubling down on failed testing policies. The nation needs a moratorium on standardized exam mandates, including the new wave of Common Core tests that are about to swamp our schools.”

During the 2012-2013 public school year, actions against high-stakes tests included a successful teachers strike in Chicago, an effective boycott in Seattle, student walkouts in Denver and Portland, demonstrations in Providence and opt-out movements in dozens of communities. Responding to grassroots campaigns, Texas policymakers cut back the number of mandated tests from 15 to 5 while Minnesota eliminated its high school graduation exam requirement.  Last weekend, more than 1,500 parents, students and educators packed a high school football stadium on Long Island to protest New York’s new Common Core exams.

Founded in 1985 by leaders of major education, civil rights and student groups, FairTest is based in Boston, Massachusetts.

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-  For details on the flaws of the new Common Core exams, an overview of last year’s protests against high-stakes testing, and other background information, see http://www.fairtest.org.
 
-  Journalists interested in receiving FairTest’s weekly “Testing Resistance & Reform News” summarizing grassroots activism around the nation can sign up with a reply email.