Sample Letter to friends and colleagues on the National Resolution

Dear [your friend/colleague],

I'm writing to ask you to help curb the pervasive high-stakes testing that is damaging our children's education. Please join me in endorsing the National Resolution on High-Stakes Testing. (I attach a copy of it.)  

The National Resolution sends a message from parents, teachers and communities. High-stakes standardized testing has narrowed curriculum, turned schooling into test prep, and eaten up far too much time. But it has not improved real student learning. The Resolution calls on federal, state and local officials and policymakers to stop the expansion of high-stakes testing around the country.

Sponsors of the Resolution include Parents Across America, FairTest, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the “Race to Nowhere” team. Already 10,000 people from across the nation have signed it. More than 550 school boards in Texas representing two-thirds of the state’s students have endorsed a version. So have many Florida school boards, the Florida PTA, and hundreds of other parent, community, business, religious and civic groups. The Resolution and sign-on page are on the web at http://timeoutfromtesting.org/nationalresolution/.

It's especially important to act now, because state and federal policy decisions are adding even more high-stakes tests:

• Many states are getting ready to test every child in every subject every year.
• The federal Race to the Top program and No Child Left Behind waivers require states to use student test scores to evaluate teachers.
• All these tests and their high-stakes uses are bound to lead to more teaching to the test.

Unless changes are made, the number of standardized exams our children are forced to take and the focus on test scores will grow.

Tests should be used to inform teachers and parents about what students are learning and help them make needed improvements. Preparation for standardized exams should not be the main focus of schools. Students, schools and teachers should be assessed on the actual work that students do throughout a year. Major decisions should not be based on test scores that cover only a small part of the rich education we all want for our children.

Our elected officials need to know that their constituents feel strongly about high-stakes testing and will keep a close eye on their votes on these matters. Please help us in this effort by endorsing the Resolution and letting your elected representatives know where you stand.

Sincerely,