OPT OUT NEWS: University of Chicago Lab School teachers and unionized CPS charter school teachers support Opt Out

Teachers at the University of Chicago Lab School and at unionized Chicago Public Schools charter schools have publicly announced their support for the Opt Out movement. The announcement came in a press release from the Chicago Teachers Union. The Lab School is the school attended by the children of Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago.

Part of the Opt Out protest on March 10 at the network offices. Substance photo by David Vance.CTU PRESS RELEASE BELOW HERE:

Faculty at U. of C. Lab Schools, Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff, renowned national educators support ISAT boycott

NEWS RELEASE. IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Stephanie Gadlin. March 11, 2014 312-329-6250

CHICAGO-The Chicago Teachers Union has received statements of support this week (below) from the Faculty Association of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff and nationally recognized educators for families and teachers who have opted out of the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) in Chicago Public Schools. Nearly 2,000 students at 90 schools-including charter schools-were opted out of this year's ISAT, joining teacher-led decisions to teach instead of test at Saucedo Scholastic Academy and Drummond Montessori School.

"What the public needs to know is that there are brilliant kids in every system that these tests cannot and do not measure," said Paul Horton, a history teacher at the U. of C. Lab Schools.

CPS students take more standardized tests in one year than students at the U. of C. Lab Schools do in their entire 12 years of education at the school, according to the CTU Research Department.

"It is about profits, not kids," Horton said.

In a public petition released Monday, more than fifty educators and researchers, including well-respected figures in the field of education, pledged support for the ISAT boycott and called on Chicago's mayor and schools chief to rescind threats of punishment for those who participated in the action. Among the signers of the statement are CTU President Karen Lewis, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch.

Signers compared the teachers' decision to civil rights activism. "Like early participants in the Civil Rights Movement," they wrote, "the teachers at Saucedo and Drummond who have refused to administer the ISAT have taken an enormous risk for what they believe is right."

Jesse Hagopian, a high school teacher in Seattle and one of the organizers of a boycott of the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test last year, took the lead in gathering signatures to support the Chicago boycott. "I know from experience how frightening it can be to take this kind of action," Hagopian said, "no one would jeopardize their livelihood unless they believed deeply in what they were doing."


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