February 28, 2014
To the teachers at Saucedo Elementary and Drummond Elementary schools,
Teachers for Social Justice fully supports your decision to refuse to administer the 2014 ISAT test to your students. Thank you for taking this important step to protect your students from a week of testing that does not benefit them and does not allow teachers to teach. Your decision is a courageous one in the face of threats from the CEO of CPS that your jobs and your teaching certification may be at risk. By refusing to administer yet another standardized test you are saying “no” to the idea that a test written by a company far from the classroom can assess your students in a meaningful way.
Teachers are in a unique position to understand the damage that overuse and misuse of standardized testing can do to students. Research has shown that high stakes standardized tests narrow the curriculum; increase stress levels for teachers, parents and students, and drive many teachers from the profession. These tests make school less engaging and less relevant to students’ lives.
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. We applaud your decision to support your students and the teaching profession in this way.
Thank you for taking a stand against the misuse and overuse of standardized tests. Thank you for risking your jobs to give your students the education they deserve.
Teachers for Social Justice
CHICAGO—The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) supports teachers and parents at Drummond Thomas Montessori School who announced today their intent to boycott the Illinois State Achievement Test (ISAT). Drummond joins Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy as the second school this week to take action against this “low-stakes” standardized test. Saucedo teachers announced on Tuesday their intent to boycott the ISAT.
“This second boycott is evidence that more and more educators continue to take a principled stand against harmful tests and in support of their parents and students,” said CTU VP Jesse Sharkey. “The CTU supports these teachers and calls on the district to stop making threats to parents and educators who are trying to restore some sanity to the education system.”
Drummond teachers are holding a press conference this afternoon regarding their decision to boycott the ISAT. The CTU commends these members and pledges continued support and representation in the event of any retaliatory adverse action CPS may take against them.
WHO: Drummond Thomas Montessori School teachers and parents
WHAT: Press conference to announce the decision to boycott the Illinois State Achievement Test and highlight for the district the failure of a narrow, test-based approach to education that stifles creativity and undermines the efforts of teachers to develop engaged, curious and lifelong learners.
WHEN: Friday, February 28, at 4 p.m.
WHERE: Drummond Thomas Montessori School
1645 W. Cortland St.
Chicago, IL 60622