Sample Letter to local school board on the National Resolution

Dear [School board member/organization leader],

High-stakes school testing is out of control in the United States. Parents and educators are fed up with the stress, the endless test prep and the costly fallout that includes narrowing curricula and closing schools. According to the National Research Council, this huge expansion of testing has failed to improve learning. It's time to end the madness.

That's where the National Resolution on High-Stakes Testing comes in.

The National Resolution sends the message that parents, teachers and communities have had enough. It calls on elected officials and education policy makers to eliminate state and federal mandates driving high-stakes testing expansion. It was put together by a coalition of national education-focused groups, based on a resolution passed by hundreds of Texas school boards. I attach a copy of the National Resolution.

I urge you and your fellow [school board members/organization members] to join this movement. The first step is to endorse the Resolution.

It's especially important to act now, because state and federal policy decisions are increasing high-stakes testing across the country.

• Many states are planning 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. This will undermine, not improve, education and learning.  

Unless changes are made, the number of tests our children are taking will rise, and the focus on test scores will grow.

Standardized exams can be used as one tool to inform teachers and parents about what students are learning and help them make needed improvements. Test preparation 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, not by scores on exams that cover only a limited portion of the rich education we all want for our children.   

Our nation's current regime of high-stakes testing does more harm than good. We urge you to help end it by endorsing the resolution (http://timeoutfromtesting.org/nationalresolution/). When you do, please inform other local, state and federal officials about your action.  

Sincerely,