Thirteen years old and still building the resistance... 'And so I committed an act of civil disobedience by boycotting the administration of the test....' Colorado resistance group still at it after all these years -- on a shoestring budget

In February 2001, Colorado middle school teacher Don Perl became the first teacher in the country to refuse to give the mandated state test. In his 19th year of teaching in a school where the home language of half the students was not English, Perl was troubled by a system �truly designed to marginalize our society even more.� As Don recalls, �I remembered the phrase �in loco parentis� that I had heard often when I was an aspiring teacher. We don't want any harm to come to our children. This testing mania was harmful to them. Thus, I could not in good conscience administer the test. And so I committed an act of civil disobedience by boycotting the administration of the test.�

One of the billboards placed in Colorado by the Colorado resistance, that began these protests several tests ago, in 2001 just as George W. Bush (and "No Child Left Behind") were arriving on the scene.Don was suspended for two weeks without pay�the two weeks that the test was administered. Here�s the Denver Post headline of Feb. 19, 2001: �Greeley, Colorado. Teacher Refuses to Give Abusive Test.�

Now a professor at University of Northern Colorado, Don is still fighting against oppressive standardized testing. Soon after leaving his public school teaching career, he founded the Coalition for Better Education, a group that has sponsored a number of campaigns to raise parent awareness of their right to opt their children out of the state testing. Each year, just before testing season begins, the Coalition for Better Education, erects billboards along heavily-traffic thoroughfares.

Operating on a shoestring budget, with no overhead, The Coalition accepts donations from across the country. Don says, �No contribution is too small� and reports contributions arriving from a band of resisters ranging from Maine to Alaska. Those wishing to join this grassroots effort may send contributions to:

Coalition for Better Education

2424 22nd Ave.

Greeley, CO 80631


November 27, 2014 at 12:16 PM

By: Neil Flanigan

History of teacher resistance?

Thank you for this contribution to the history of teacher resistance to high-stakes testing. This is especially welcome coming from the author of the pioneering book "One Size Fits Few." Is anyone trying to do a complete history, at least giving credit to each of the many teachers, parents and students who contributed to this movement over the past 15 or 20 years?

November 27, 2014 at 4:03 PM

By: Yvonne. Siu-Runyan

Coalition for Better Education

I support the Coalition for Better Education and Don Perl!

November 27, 2014 at 7:56 PM

By: Susan Ohanian

Neil Flanigan & a nod to history

Thank you, Neil. You made my day.

With everybody so busy blogging and rediscovering the wheel, it is rare to see an acknowledgement of our past attempts to make people aware of the issues.

Don Perl did a unique and brave thing.

So did George.

I feel humble in the knowledge of their acts. . . and try not to be too annoyed by all the reformers who discovered something was wrong yesterday.

November 28, 2014 at 6:28 PM

By: Don Perl

History of teacher resistance

Neil Flanagan raised the pertinent question, "Is anyone trying to do a complete history ... of this movement over the past 15 or 20 years." Professors Nancy Schniedewind and Mara Sapon-Shevin composed a rather wonderful anthology of voices raised against the corporate takeover of public education. The book is "Educational Courage: Resisting the Ambush of Public Education." Beacon Press. 2012. I am honored that our Colorado story is included. These are the first person narratives of teachers, parents, and students speaking out for the true values of public education. Of course there is always room for an historical perspective.

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