Sample Letter to state and federal legislators on the National Resolution
Standardized testing is out of control in our public schools. Parents and educators are fed up with the stress, the time wasted in endless test prep and the costly fallout that includes narrowing curricula and closing schools. The National Research Council has concluded that the huge expansion in high-stakes exams has not improved student learning.
My/our own experience with testing has been . . . . [add a personal anecdote, if you have one]
Given the many well-documented drawbacks of high-stakes testing, I am dismayed to see elected representatives supporting policies that will increase the educational damage. Of particular concern:
• “No Child Left Behind” has forced every state to use high-stakes testing to judge its students.
• Federal programs such as Race to the Top and the NCLB waivers require states to judge teachers in large part based on student test scores.
• Many states are developing annual tests for every child in every subject and grade, often in response to the federal policies.
I recently endorsed the National Resolution on High-Stakes Testing, which calls for a saner approach to student and teacher evaluation. A coalition of national education-focused groups wrote it, based on a resolution passed by more than 550 Texas school boards representing two-thirds of the state’s students. I attach a copy of the National Resolution. It is also on the web at http://timeoutfromtesting.org/nationalresolution/.
Experts agree that tests should be used to inform teachers and parents about what students are learning, and help them make needed improvements. Assessment should be based 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.
I recognize that some schools do need improvement. But high-stakes testing does not help. Better ways to strengthen education exist.
I urge you to sign the Resolution, announce your support for it, and vote whenever possible to end the unproductive reliance on high-stakes testing.
High-stakes testing does more harm than good. It stands in the way of genuine school improvement.
Enough is enough!
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