CTU President Karen Lewis and Settle test boycott leader Jesse Hagopian in March 19 anti-testing Chicago forum at Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church, 2976 S. Wabash Ave.

As the Chicago Public Schools expands its expensive testing (and semi- and pseudo-testing) program, with the most severe problems hitting the city's inner city schools, the Chicago Teachers Union is co-sponsoring a forum scheduled for March 19 featuring Karen Lewis and Seattle test resistance leader Jesse Hagopian.

A month after joining in a critique of so-called "standardized" testing at the January Board of Education meeting, Malcolm joined many CTU delegates in expressing some serious opinions during the March 13, 2013 CTU House of Delegates meeting. Photo by Nate Goldbaum. According to a CTU press release on March 15, 2013:

CTU President Karen Lewis and Seattle Test Boycott Leader Jesse Hagopian to Discuss the Impact of Standardized Testing at March 19 Forum

CHICAGO—Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis will tackle the controversy over high stakes student testing in Chicago’s public schools at a special community forum on Tuesday, March 19, at Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church, 2976 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago. Joining Lewis will be Jesse Hagopian, a teacher and leading advocate for education justice, who recently led a boycott of standardized testing at Garfield High School in Seattle.

The Chicago Teachers Union in January launched its “Pencils Down” campaign in support of local and nationwide efforts to eliminate standardized non-state mandated tests from public schools. Test scores fail as measures of learning when high-stakes testing advanced by corporate education reformers dominates curriculum, and also fail to consider non-classroom stimuli that affects school-age children, especially in urban areas.

“This forum will help inform Chicago parents and community residents about the real abuse of students and waste of valuable time and money involved in these testing programs,” Lewis said.

The Chicago Board of Education requires that elementary and high schools administer over two dozen standardized tests to students each year. Like similar testing programs around the nation, Chicago’s versions of these fill-in-the-bubble tests are criticized as a multi-million dollar expense that are unfair and biased, and consume a large percentage of classroom time despite being of little value in the actual education of children. School districts pay testing corporations to develop, administer, grade, and analyze, and report test results that ultimately are used in decision making about student achievement, school closings, and teacher evaluation.

Children who do not have access to health care, who are hungry, who are fearful of violence in their communities, who do not have books or access to other informal learning at home, whose parents have limited education, and whose families are constantly stressed by economic problems are at an extreme academic disadvantage. These factors are highly related not only to testing outcomes, academic achievement, future education and socio‐economic success, but also to the racial, ethnic and class origins of individuals.

“Standardized testing has from the very beginning been a tool to rank people, not to remove the barriers needed to achieve equality,” Hagopian said. “If we really want to close the gap in education between students of color and their white peers, we would stop spending millions of dollars to rank, sort, and punish students with standardized tests, and use those funds to invest in reading coaches and tutors for students of color.”

The March 19 event is sponsored by the Chicago Teachers Union; the More Than a Score coalition of parents, students, teachers, and community members; the CReATE coalition of higher education researchers and advocates for transformative education; and Mt. Carmel MB Baptist Church.



Student protests against standardized tests spreading

Posted by Valerie Strauss on March 11, 2013 at 10:58 am

Colorado students are planning to walk out of the state’s mandatory assessment this week and protest at the state Capitol, the latest in growing student pushback against high-stakes tests around the country.

In Providence, R.I., students recently dressed up as zombies and marched at the State House; in Oregon, students are organizing an opt-out campaign to persuade other students not to take state standardized tests; in New York, California and other states, students are increasingly opting out of standardized testing.

Here are two videos made by students in Colorado who are planning a walkout Thursday, the day the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program tests are being given. The videos explain why the walkout and protest at the state Capitol are being planned and give students instructions on how to behave if they leave a testing area and join the demonstration.

The URL for the videos is:


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