Welcome to the Spring 2011 Examiner
FairTest is excited to resume publication of our newsletter, which we had suspended due to financial constraints. Our fiscal situation has now stabilized, but we very much need your help to fund our assessment reform work at this critical time.
We are very grateful for grants from the Open Society Foundations, Bay and Paul Foundations and National Education Association. These, along with a strong flow of donations from individuals and organizations, have put FairTest’s assessment reform efforts on a more solid footing. We particularly thank the California Teachers Association, Washington Education Association, Connecticut Education Association, New Jersey Education Association, and Jefferson County (KY) Education Association for their generous contributions.
Despite the period of limited resources, we have remained very active. As articles in this issue show, we continued to push for a major overhaul of federal law (ESEA/NCLB), particularly through our leadership of the Forum on Educational Accountability. We supported efforts to block reliance on student test scores to judge teachers and educators and helped more colleges adopt test score optional admissions. We also worked with several allied organizations to link high-stakes testing to student suspensions and expulsions from school, negative school climate, and the “school to prison pipeline”
Through our listservs and other channels, we continued to expose the flaws and misuses of tests. We wrote new fact sheets and articles. We posted regularly on the Washington Post The Answer Sheet and the National Journal Experts Blog on Education. We are quoted regularly in major national and regional media, our web traffic grows significantly every year, and our Facebook presence (linked to Twitter) is expanding. Additionally, we continue to respond to requests from individual students, parents and educators for help with testing problems.
But to effectively carry out our mission of ensuring that assessment is fair, open and educationally sound in public schools and higher education, we need additional resources. We seek, for example, the capacity to work more closely with the growing number of state and local groups that are battling the misuse and overuse of tests. We also need to cover travel costs to work with colleges and universities that are considering an overhaul of their admissions exam requirements. More generally, we want to broaden and intensify our efforts to educate the public and policy-makers on the harmful effects of over-testing, as well as on how to create educationally sound and morally defensible assessment practices.
FairTest’s board and staff will do our part to secure additional funding sources, but your help remains essential. Please make a generous donation: use this link < https://secure.entango.com/donate/MnrXjT8MQqk > (which is also on our website homepage), or send your check to P.O. Box 300204, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130.
Chair of the Board of Directors
Monty Neill, Ed.D.
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