Sunday, May 29, 2011

Refusing our cooperation

Content-bloated, highly prescribed curriculums and high stakes, test and punish, standardized tests are not like the weather. They are not these things we must resign ourselves to. Rather, they are political movements that should be opposed.

I've written before that public education is today's civil rights movement. Like the civil rights movement of the 60s, we aren't likely to make any progress until we the people refuse our cooperation with those who would impose their ignorance with the force of law.

It's time we become outraged by the outrageous and refuse to be accomplices to the destruction of public education. Capitulation disguised as moderation merely enslaves us to more of the same.

Perhaps it's time parents stood up and said: Not with my child you don't!

Perhaps it's time children stood up and said: Not with my education you don't!

Most people don't know that standardized testing is largely optional, and the government wants to keep it that way.

That's why awareness is so important. 

If teachers, parents and students allied together to refuse our cooperation and opt out of standardized testing, we could start to make change. 

Spread the word.


  1. Parents often don't realize they have the chance to opt out of such tests. Perhaps that's where the real grassroots effort has to be - a parent movement.

    I really enjoyed the second video. I've never seen the Brave New Voices series before. Where did you first see it, Joe?

  2. Parents and educators are pressured into thinking that these tests represent the only assurance that young people have been adequately educated. All other measures are dismissed as inadequate. This is the old war between quantitative and qualitative assessment. Numbers, whatever their source, are seen by many as the last word.

  3. John, I think I first saw that video in a Sir Ken Robinson tweet. I was impressed and thought it would fit well in a post about civil disobedience.

    Alan, I think you're point is an important one that we cannot give up on. It is our responsibility to show everyone how testsandgrades conceal far more than they reveal.

    Thanks to both of you for your comments. You are both long time, valued readers!


  4. Here in California, the ed code says that as a teacher, I am allowed to inform but not solicit or encourage students to opt out of our yearly statewide standardized test fiasco. So I've been wondering if that law holds true just in the classroom, or during school hours, or whether I'm on the hook for encouraging a test boycott on my blog (which I do somewhat regularly)...I've walked a fine line with this law in my classroom before but I think this coming year (assuming I get my job back, which I probably will), I might need to take that a step further and get more parents in on it...


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