CORE launches 'Testing Task Force'

At its January 6, 2010 meeting, CORE steering committee member Norine Gutekanst announced that CORE was launching a 'Testing Task Force" to be chaired by Boone Elementary School teacher Wade Tillett, who had recently written about the misuse of standardized tests in Chicago's public schools.

The announcement of the 'Testing Task Force' came following a suggestion by Substance that CORE support a two-year moratorium on the use of so-called standardized tests in Chicago. No mention was made of the proposed moratorium, which was based on recent actions by the British Columbia Federation of Teachers, at the CORE meeting.

The B.C. teachers' program was reported at in December and shared widely.§ion=Article

On January 8, CORE posted the following to its List Serve:

Testing Task Force Launch

CORE is launching a task force to look into how the misuse of standardized tests interferes with making schools that serve the best interests of our students. The CORE task force is open to all who are interested in advocating and acting to create schools that work for kids.

We will meet on Wednesday, Jan. 20th at 4pm at Manny's Coffeeshop, 1141 South Jefferson St.

Our first task will be to encourage teachers that they are not alone in their feeling that tests are terrorizing students, parents, teachers and entire schools. The current testing regime replaces the joy of learning with the bureaucracy of learning.

We know that good schools:

* encourage joyful learning,

* value exploration, wonder and awe,

* have students that are interested and actively engaged,

* address students' concerns,

* have teachers that work together to address students' needs and character,

* support students beyond the school walls,

* have the ability to abandon the lesson plan and follow teachable moments,

* build on student and community strengths,

* have practicing student citizens.

The current testing mania interferes with each of the points above. We will examine how.

In addition to giving voice to what schools could and should be, we will look into alternatives to tests that can better provide "accountability" and equity. We will look into misuse of test scores for promotion, school closings, and "bonus" merit pay in the TAP program.

There will be a testing workshop at the Jan. 9 Malcolm X meeting. In addition, please save March 4, the National Day of Action in Defense of Education for potential action.

Hope to see you there!

/Signed/ Karen Lewis, Norine Gutekanst, Wade Tillett


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