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Support Chicago teachers refusing to give the ISAT standardized test


[via Pauline Lipman]

Colleagues,

Please sign attached letter of support for Chicago teachers refusing to give the ISAT standardized test. Teachers at Saucedo elementary school in Little Village (serving mainly Mexican children) took the courageous stand to support parents who are opting out of the test by refusing to administer it. CEO Barbara Byrd Bennet sent teachers a threatening memo threatening any teacher who boycotted the test with being fired and having her license revoked. Nonetheless, teachers at a second school have just joined the boycott. Please add your name to this letter. We need a strong national showing now. Testing will begin next week so we need to move on this now. The letter will be posted on numerous websites and may be read at press conferences at the schools. (more background below)

PLEASE CIRCULATE THIS LETTER WIDELY TO SIGN, PLEASE SEND YOUR NAME, TITLE, AND UNIVERSITY AFFILIATION TO:
[email protected]

Thank you for your solidarity.

Pauline

Pauline Lipman
Professor, Educational Policy Studies
College of Education
University of Illinois-Chicago
1040 W. Harrison, MC 147
Chicago IL 60607-7133
312-413-4413

BACKGROUND
CPS has announced that this year the ISAT test has no impact on students’ grade promotion or admission into selective programs. The ISAT is no longer part of the “school performance policy” nor will it be used to evaluate teachers. CPS’s claim that the ISAT is aligned to Common Core standards is dubious at best since the PARCC exam, which is being designed to measure performance on those standards, has been years in the making and has yet to be released. The ISAT will not help teachers understand their students or improve instruction for them. Because CPS has not provided any valid reason to give this test hundreds of parents have opted their children out of this test.

LETTER
February 28, 2014

STATEMENT OF SUPPORT FOR CHICAGO TEACHERS REFUSING TO ADMINISTER THE ILLINOIS STANDARD ACHIEVEMENT TEST

FROM UNIVERSITY EDUCATION FACULTY

As university faculty whose responsibilities include preparing future educators, we support the action of teachers at the Saucedo Elementary School in Chicago who are refusing to administer the Illinois Standard Achievement Test (ISAT). Over a decade of research shows that an over emphasis on high-stakes standardized tests narrows curriculum, creates social and emotional stress for students and families, drives committed teachers out of the profession, and turns schools into test-prep factories with principals forced to comply as overseers—especially in low-scoring schools. We understand assessment as the process of gathering evidence about learning, from multiple sources, so that teachers can better support student learning. The ISAT, in contrast, contributes virtually nothing. CPS no longer uses the ISAT for promotion, graduation, or eligibility for selective-enrollment schools and is phasing it out after this year. It is not aligned with Common Core State Standards—which, regardless of how one sees them, Illinois has already adopted—and does not help teachers improve student learning. The pre-service teachers with whom we work are demoralized about a future of teaching in such a test-driven atmosphere. We teach our students—future educators—to stand up for their students, families and communities, and to take principled stands for social justice. That’s what the Saucedo teachers are doing. We applaud them and stand with them.

Signed

Pauline Lipman, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
Rico Gutstein, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education

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