Yesterday, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich posted this message on his Facebook page:
We're turning our schools into test-taking factories. We're teaching children how to take standardized tests rather than how to think. The irony is we're doing this at the very time when the economy is becoming less standardized than ever. Computers and software are taking over all routine, standardized tasks. The challenges of the future require the ability to solve and identify new problems, think creatively outside standard boxes, and work collaboratively with others. An obsessive focus on standardized tests can make our children less prepared for this future rather than better prepared.
Though Reich may not have known it, his statement was very timely, because today, a coalition (which I am a part of) announced the launch of Testing Resistance & Reform Spring, with the slogan “Less Testing, More Learning.”
The following statement was released by the coalition:
TESTING RESISTANCE & REFORM SPRING
Our nation can do a much better job evaluating our children, teachers and schools. High-quality assessments promote better teaching, learning and student engagement and help kids develop their abilities. Current one-size-fits-all tests are misused to produce narrow, misleading snapshots of our children and our schools.
Widespread resistance to the overuse and misuse of standardized testing is exploding across the nation. Testing Resistance & Reform Spring (TRRS) is an alliance of organizations that have come together to expand these efforts in order to win local, state and national policy changes: Less testing, more learning.
To ensure that assessment contributes to all students having full access to an equitable, high-quality education, we unite around three goals:
1) Stop high-stakes use of standardized tests;
2) Reduce the number of standardized exams, saving time and money for real learning; and
3) Replace multiple-choice tests with performance-based assessments and evidence of learning from students’ ongoing classwork (“multiple measures”).
We support a range of public education and mobilizing tactics, including community meetings, boycotts, opt-out campaigns, rallies, petition drives and legislation. TRRS will help activists link up, communicate and learn from one another. This will build a stronger national movement to overhaul assessment policies.
Our new, action-oriented website will provide resources for the campaign’s success. It includes downloadable fact sheets, how-to-do-it guides, and much more (see list of files below). A mapping tool will make it easy for parents, students, teachers and community organizers to post and find local actions anywhere in the United States.
We invite other organizations to join Testing Resistance & Reform Spring as Partners (see list below and this link on why and how to join.
You can reach us at TRRS@fairtest.org.
TRRS Founding Partners:
Network for Public Education
Parents Across America
Save Our Schools
United Opt Out
Wayne Au, Assoc. Prof., University of Washington, Bothel
Anthony Cody, Teacher, Blogger
Nikhil Goyal, Student, Activist
Jesse Hagopian, Teacher, Garfield High School, Seattle, Washington
Angela Valenzuela, Professor, U-Texas, Austin
George Wood, Superintendent, Federal Hocking Local Schools, Stewart, Ohio
Coalition for Essential Schools
K-12 News Network
National Latino/a Education Research and Policy (NLERAP)
State and Local
Change the Stakes (NY)
Chicagoland Researchers and Advocates for Transformative Education (CReATE)
Citizens for Public Schools (MA)
Jefferson County Teachers Association (JCTA) (KY)
Jefferson County Teachers Association (KY)
More Than a Score (Chicago)
New York State Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE)
Opt Out Orlando (FL)
Parents United for Responsible Education (Chicago)
ReThinking Testing Midhudson Region (NY)
Social Equality Educators (Seattle)
Students 4 Our School (Denver)
SWside Parents Alliance (Chicago)
Teacher Activist Group - TAG Boston
Texas Center for Education Policy
Time Out from Testing (NY)
Youth Organizers for the Now Generation (YOUNG) (Boston)
What do you think? Is it time for a testing resistance movement?
The opinions expressed in Living in Dialogue are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.