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OPT OUT NEWS: The panic of the plutocracy against the Opt Out movement sounds like a resurrected 'Domino Theory'

By the time most of the administrations of the ISAT (Illinois State Achievement Testing) testing program had ended on March 11 and March 12, 2014, the evidence was still incomplete about the panicky response by the Chicago administration of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his hand-picked Board of Education and schools "Chief Executive Officer". But it was clear that in many -- if not most -- parents of children in Chicago public schools had faced a lot of bullying if they chose to opt out their children from the lame duck ISAT testing. But not all parents and not all schools faced the widespread bullying. Preliminary information shows that CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett ordered that most of the bullying take place in schools where the majority of children were Black and Latino -- with parents who were working class or very poor.

Sarah Chambers, leader of the teachers at Chicago's Saucedo elementary school, spoke to the rally on behalf of Opt Out and the teacher boycott at the March 10, 2014 rally at the school. Substance photo by Sharon Schmidt.By March 7, the organizations "More Than A Score" and "PURE" had acquired assistance from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to protect the rights of parents to opt out their children and the right of teachers to boycott the tests. Despite attempts by Chicago and Illinois officials to create pretexts for the continuation of children's participation in the tests, the largest number of children in history opted out of a Chicago testing program, and the longer the testing program moved forward the more children were opted out despite the pressure.

First, the national report, provided on March 11, 2014 by Fair Test, showed the widespread impact of resistance to high-stakes testing across the USA:

Across the nation, parents and teachers are resisting the testing mania imposed by the U.S. Department of Education and Congress. It is a good time to remember that education is not mentioned in the Constitution, and that it is traditionally considered a state and local function. The federal government provides only 10% of the funding.

The test resistance ranged from teachers in clown suits in Maryland to parents facing down threats from school administrators in Colorado. And Chicago was the epicenter of the resistance, with thousands of children (including the two sons of this reporter) being opted out of the ISAT tests, while dozens of teachers stood and said they would not give an unethical and wasteful testing program, the ISAT.

Here is FairTest's roundup of the latest resistance to high-stakes testing:

Testing Resistance & Reform Spring is taking off across the nation. This week's stories include articles about protests against standardized exam overkill in a dozen states plus several excellent commentaries. Be sure to post your events and take advantage of the resources available to support your work via the new, simpler URL: http://www.resistthetest.org -- as always, feel free to use or adapt the many useful fact sheets at http://www.fairtest.org

Test Skeptics Aim to Build Support Through Opt-Out and Boycott Strategies

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/03/12/24boycotts_ep.h33.html

Educators Boycotting Chicago Exam Spend Day Teaching Not Testing

http://www.wbez.org/news/saucedo-teachers-spend-day-1-isat-teaching-concerns-raised-about-intimidation-109815

National Leaders Support Chicago Test Boycott

http://dianeravitch.net/2014/03/09/leading-educators-support-chicago-test-boycott/

Resources for Supporting Chicago Parents and Teachers Protesting the ISAT

http://morethanascorechicago.org/2014/03/03/isat-opt-out-support-kit/

Dressed in Clown Suits, Maryland Teachers Protest Excessive Testing

Maryland Super Tells Parents State Test is Useless

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/District_Dossier/2014/03/joshua_starr_to_parents_upcomi.html

Florida Ed Commissioner's Arrogant Letter Angers Mother of Recently Deceased Disabled Child

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/04/ethan-rediske-act_n_4899010.html

Testing Fixation Drives Florida School Board Member to Quit, Fight on Larger Battleground

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/03/06/the-drive-to-test-test-and-re-test-leads-famous-school-board-member-to-quit/

Worcester Mass. School Committee Will Allow Students to Opt Out of Common Core Pilot Exam

http://www.telegram.com/article/20140307/NEWS/303079875/1116

More Massachusetts Education Leaders Criticize Double-Testing

http://www.patriotledger.com/article/20140310/NEWS/140319857

New York Protests Intensify as Common Core Tests Loom

http://www.longislandpress.com/2014/03/10/common-core-tests-loom-intensifying-debate-in-ny/

Rochester, NY, Teachers Association Brings Suit Against "Value Added" Evaluations

http://www.rochestercitynewspaper.com/rochester/teachers-union-sues-over-evaluations/Content?oid=2346958

Connecticut Educators Want to Reexamine Test-Based Teacher Evaluation Model

http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/teacher_union_wants_to_revisit_teacher_evaluation_method

Connecticut Parents Seek to Opt Children Out of Common Core Tests

http://www.ctnow.com/news/hc-parents-opting-out-20140228,0,1363518.story

The Brave New World of "College and Career Readiness" Testing

http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/the_brave_new_world_of_being_college_and_career_ready

North Carolina Families Opt Out of Standardized Tests

http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/03/09/3682922/opting-out-of-standardized-testing.html

Penn. Parents Join Forces to Opt Kids Out of Standardized Tests

http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/parents-join-forces-to-opt-kids-out-of-standardized-tests/article_88aff918-a643-11e3-aa64-0017a43b2370.html

Arkansas Professor Urges 11th Graders to Opt Out of Literacy Test

http://www.arktimes.com/ArkansasBlog/archives/2014/03/10/ua-prof-calls-for-students-to-opt-out-of-11th-grade-literacy-test

Tennessee Teacher Sue Claiming "Value-Added" Assessment is Arbitrary and Unconstitutional

http://tnedreport.com/?p=753

Virginia Lawmakers Seek to Reduce Number of Standardized Tests

http://www.newsplex.com/home/headlines/Va-Lawmakers-Aim-to-Reduce-Number-of-Standardized-Tests-249339961.html

Nashua, New Hampshire Board Backs Delay of New Test

http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/1030167-469/majority-of-nashua-school-board-members-back.html

NEA Pushes Bill to Reduce Federal Testing Mandates

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2014/03/nea_pushes_legislation_to_redu.html

When Education is Nothing But a Test Score

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/03/05/23mcgill.h33.html

13 Ways High-Stakes Exams Hurt Students

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/03/10/13-ways-high-stakes-standardized-tests-hurt-students/

Believing We Can Improve Schooling with More Tests is Like Believing You Can Make Yourself Grow Taller by Measuring Your Height

Accountability and Motivation -- Test-Driven Policies Get it Wrong

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/top_performers/2014/03/accountability_and_motivation.html?cmp=SOC-SHR-TW

Common Core Testing Further Undermines Educational Equity

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/03/10/the-myth-of-common-core-equity/

I Opted My Kids Out of Standardized Tests, Then Learned a Thing or Two

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/family/2014/03/standardized_testing_i_opted_my_kids_out_the_schools_freaked_out_now_i_know.html

Testing Diverted The War on Poverty -- By FairTest Board member Deborah Meier

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/03/05/23meier.h33.html

Parent to Pres. Obama: Why Don't Private Schools Adopt Test-Driven "Reforms"?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/03/05/parent-to-obama-why-dont-private-schools-adopt-your-test-based-school-reforms/

What the U.S. Can Learn From Finland

http://www.npr.org/2014/03/08/287255411/what-the-u-s-can-learn-from-finland-where-school-starts-at-age-7

Activists Call for Congressional Hearings on Standardized Test Misuse

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/03/04/activist-calls-for-congressional-hearings-on-standardized-testing-gets-unexpected-support/

Critics Give SAT Revisions a Failing Grade

http://www.mintpressnews.com/critics-give-new-sat-reforms-failing-score/185941/

The Real Reason the SAT is Changing: Competition from ACT

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/03/05/why-the-sat-is-really-changing-its-facing-tough-competition-from-the-act/

College President: SAT is Part Hoax and Part Fraud

http://time.com/15199/college-president-sat-is-part-hoax-and-part-fraud/

FairTest News Releases

http://fairtest.org/fairtest-questions-college-board-plans-new-sat and http://fairtest.org/node/2964

Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director

FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing

office- (239) 395-6773 fax (239) 395-6779

mobile- (239) 699-0468

web- http://www.fairtest.org



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