LET US TEACH! Teachers, Parents and Community Members Agree... Standardized Tests Suck, and Get in the Way of Educating Students

Between 150-200 teachers, parents and community members joined in a militant rally outside the CPS Network #7 (Pilsen-Little Village) office at 501 W. 35th Street in Bridgeport on Monday, March 10. They were there to demand that CPS not retaliate against teachers at Saucedo Scholastic Academy and Drummond Montessori for refusing to administer the ISAT exams last week.

Part of the crowd at the rally on March 10. Substance photo by Kim Scipes.Marchers came up with some great chants: �Get Up, Get Down, Chicago�s Not a Testing Town,� was followed by �We Need Teachers, We Need Books, We Need Money Testing Took,� and that was followed by �More Teaching, Less Testing.�

Although �stimulated� by CPS� insistence that the ISAT be given this year�despite even the administration noting that it would not be used for anything (really!)�the rally went way beyond just protesting the ISAT.

People noted that Rahm Emanuel�s kids don�t have to take standardized tests.

Clarece McDaniel (sp?), a parent long involved with Menier Elementary, said she �was here supporting teachers� boycotting.� She said, �Let teachers teach, and let children learn!� McDaniel also demanded no retaliation against students and parents who opted out of the ISAT.

Sandra Posades, a teacher and parent at Saucedo, pointed out that the tests were intended to make children with limited English skills fail: �this is not an achievement test!�

Sarah Chambers, another teacher at Saucedo who was boycotting the ISAT, specifically thanked supporters from around the city and across the country for their support: �It�s been incredible!�

Another parent�again, whose name I did not get�talked about how she sent her kids to Pritzker, and they had been quite happy there. But the principal had made her daughter sit in the testing room. �This is so hard for the kids: they are torn between listening to what their parents have told them, and what an adult �authority figure� says they must do.� She decried this bullying by CPS administrators. �No administrator in CPS has the right to bully our children!�

Chicago Teachers Union recording secretary Michael Brunson leads some of the protesters on March 10, 2014. Substance photo by David Vance.One teacher from Drummond�another whose name I did not get�tied standardized testing in with the eugenics movement in the US (from which Hitler learned), and then Jim Crow. She specifically mentioned Michelle Alexander�s great book, The New Jim Crow, which is about the prison industrial complex. (It turns out today, more African American men are in the criminal justice system, in all of its aspects, than there were slaves in 1850!)

The time being wasted by CPS on this useless exam is being resented by all concerned. It�s time that the teachers don�t get to teach, and children don�t get to learn. The bullying by administrators to force students to take the exam is disturbing. The escalating understanding that this is not being done to advance our children, but to just show they can do it, is not sitting well.


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