Fight Back Friday: testing

The American Federation of Teachers has taken a stand against the fixation on high-stakes testing. They’ve started a petition drive and already nearly 7,000 have signed it.

Here’s the link to sign the petition. Thanks to Don Carlisto, a 7th-grade teacher in Saranac Lake and member of the SLTA, for alerting me to it. (I am still catching up on so many emails since being out.)

Don points out that as a NYSUT (and AFT) member working with students every day, he knows the growing fixation on high-stakes testing has undermined the focus on students’ learning. “The valuable time with students is being lost to this testing fixation,” Carlisto said. How much time is lost?

“That’s hard to say. It’s hard to quantify. Because good teachers don’t do kill and drill. Good teachers do say no to too much test prep.  I’m a 16-year veteran and I see new teachers having much more pressure put on them. Veteran or new, the testing culture is a black cloud hanging over all of us and it also misleads parents about their children’s academic strengths and needs.”

The AFT executive council recently passed a resolution calling for an end to America’s fixation on high-stakes testing, declaring “By every credible measure, the testing fixation rooted in the No Child Left Behind Act has failed our students.” Delegates will consider the resolution later this month at the AFT national convention in Detroit. Here’s a link to the full resolution. But if you don’t have time to read the whole thing, it notes that “??the inappropriate and punitive use of assessments, which too often are low quality to begin with, has eclipsed teaching in too many schools. It is time to restore a proper balance to public education, and to ensure that assessments — as important as they are — inform and not impede teaching and learning.”

AFT’s nationwide call comes on the heels of NYSUT’s call to end New York state’s broken testing system in May.

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