State Tests – Opting out resources

I’ve gotten a few emails asking for info about opting out from State Tests.
Here are a couple of links, including a form letter you can copy for opting out:

Tired of Testing?

High-stakes testing is now firmly established as part of our public schools. And the stakes keep getting higher. Students’ admissions to middle school and high school are based on these tests, school rankings are too, and teacher evaluations are also now deeply enmeshed in the grades their students receive.

Predictably, and importantly, a backlash has been gaining momentum, spurred this spring by widely publicized test questions that were ridiculed by students and teachers alike and then discarded by the state.

Last week EVCS hosted a talk on the impact standardized tests are having on progressive schools like ours. (You can find some resources from that meeting on our website.) Since then, some parents at EVCS have been asking, What can we do?

If you are one of those parents, then read on …
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Resources for Education and Action Related to High-Stakes Testing

A lot of useful information and context was presented at Wednesday evening’s conversation with Prof. Celia Oyler from Teachers College. For those of you who couldn’t make it, Prof. Oyler handed out a list of books and blogs that might be helpful to parents in understanding the effects of high-stakes standardized tests and how you can get involved in improving the system:

Good basic book about testing:
The Truth About Testing: An Educator’s Call to Action

Good academic book about testing:
Collateral Damage: How High-Stakes Testing Corrupts America’s Schools

Good short book to remind us about what matters:
Why School? Reclaiming Education or All of Us

National websites

The National Center for Fair and Open Testing
Save Our Schools (activist group of educators and families)
United Opt Out National (currently organizing boycott of Pearson)

Local websites

New York City Public School Parents (a blog of “independent voices”)
Class Size Matters (local, state, and national news and organizing)
Time Out from Testing (started by a NYC mom)
A Sociological Eye on Education (Prof. Aaron Pallas’s blog that is often about value added scores)
Opt Out of Standardized Tests (a state-by-state wiki space for information and organizing)

Wednesday at 6pm: Talk on Standardized Testing in Progressive Schools

Next Wednesday evening, EVCS is hosting a community talk on the implications of standardized testing in progressive learning communities.

Facilitated by Professor Celia Oyler, PhD, head of the Inclusive Elementary Education Department at Teachers College, Columbia University, the meeting will explore the political landscape of public education in the age of No Child Left Behind.

Standardized tests and core curriculum requirements will continue to become more pervasive throughout public schools across the country. In addition to our children’s promotion and middle school options, school and teacher evaluations are now tied heavily to the results of these tests. How does EVCS continue to provide a more thoughtful curriculum when the state is demanding conformity?

The meeting will take place in the auditorium, 6pm – 8pm. Pizza and childcare will be available — please email Mary Talbot to RSVP for these services.

An Urgent Letter from Robin re: High Stakes Testing

Just want to make sure everyone got to see this important email from Robin:

April 26, 2012

Dear Families,

In light of the on-going administration of high stakes tests to our 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders, and to other children throughout New York State, I urge parents to read the attachments enclosed and to become informed and vigilant in opposing the high stakes testing that continues to negatively impact our lives. I’ve signed and submitted my name to the attached open letter, adding to the list of educators who consider the letter to be an accurate portrayal of the incompetence and mayhem that is filtering down from the offices of decision-makers who are making poor choices that affect children, teachers and administrators.

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