There are more of us than there are of them. When we work together, we can change things. Our children's very lives may depend on it. Here's what each of us can do.
SPREAD THE WORD:
- Make copies of this flyer and talk about them with everyone you can, everywhere you can: in line at the supermarket, at the hairdresser's and on the playground.
- Attend and speak out at PTA and school board meetings.
- Write letters to school administrators and/or school board members about how testing is squeezing out other important subjects.
- Write to or visit local politicians and public officials by yourself or with a group of friends. They haven't heard nearly enough about the dangers of testing.
- Write letters to the editor or op-eds for your local paper. Get ideas from our website.
- Get a group of parents, students, and teachers to meet with reporters or the editor of a local paper.
- Sponsor a teach-in on testing at your house, school, church, or community center. Invite reporters.
- Ask questions about how these tests are actually affecting children's lives.
ORGANIZE AGAINST THE TESTS:
- Organize an anti-test protest. Be sure to invite the press.
- Remind school administrators not to brag about raising test scores, since that just makes the tests seem as though they tell us something useful about learning. They don't.
- Get your union to take a stand against the testing.
- Invite local researchers to do a survey about testing. Publicize the results.
- Dare the politicians, corporations, and school administrators to take the tests themselves.
- Call your local representative and tell him how the tests hurt your child.
- File a lawsuit against the tests. Some places have won agreements with districts because they proved the tests are discriminatory.
- The best resistance may be what teachers who got state rewards/bribes are doing: giving them away to good causes.
- Opt your child out of the tests.
REPLACE THE TESTS:
- Find out about other assessment systems that tell us about individual students' progress, project-based learning, portfolios, exhibitions. Tell school administrators about them. Insist on evaluating your child with multiple measures, not just one test score.
The MEAP cannot measure the most important characteristics
of a good learner, such as:
Because those characteristics cannot be measured through the MEAP or high-stakes testing, the following are often being sacrificed:
arts and humanities
| student-initiated activities
Although the MEAP and high-stakes testing cannot be used to measure the characteristics above, those tests are accurate measurement tools of a child's socioeconomic status. The strongest predictor of a child's test score is their parent's income.
The questions are written in a way so that the experiences and cultures of poor and minority students are not addressed. They are written to reflect the knowledge, experiences and cultures of students from middle or upper-class, white neighborhoods and families.
The ways in which children speak and hear language at home may be very different than the language used on these tests and that is not taken into account; the MEAP is only given in English and students new to the country are only given two years to perfect the English language before they are required to take the test.
The stakes attached to these tests are too high. Financial consequences and school accreditation are at risk and in many states students are forced to repeat grades and can be denied diplomas based on a single test score.
Children are literally becoming sick with fear and anxiety over their scores: they fear letting down their teachers and parents, being labeled or tracked by a low score, losing out on scholarships and some students even experience physical ailments due to the stress put on them of taking such a big test.
Tax payers' money is being used to pay the profits of test makers, test checkers and test-prep companies rather than being used to buy books, supplies, technology, safe and modern facilities and more needed quality teachers.
Strong and experienced teachers and administrators are being driven out of schools because they went into education to reach children, not to teach for a test. Potential quality teachers are also being discouraged from entering the field because they know what is in store for them: high-stakes testing, rather than real teaching.
Parents, children, teachers, administrators and the government are being pit against each other rather than working together to improve schools for everyone. The MEAP and high-stakes tests cause people to blame each other for too much material to cover, too much pressure, not enough time, a school's bad reputation, students not receiving scholarships, etc. Instead, without these tests, people would have more energy and resources to spend on what schools should really be about -- helping students learn.
Teachers are pressured to teach to the test, not to children.
The list of problems that go along with the MEAP and high-stakes testing goes on and on. To learn more about the problems these tests pose to education, visit the resources listed on the back of this flier.
Whole Schooling ConsortiumRouge Forum