"...Tests do not give a true picture of pupils’ attainment, encourage teaching to the test and put pupils under pressure." This quote is not about No Child Left Behind mandated testing. It is part of a BBC News report on England’s primary tests for 11-year-olds, called the "Sats tests" [no relation to the SAT]. England’s teachers, parents and students—unlike Americans—are not passively rolling over to government edicts. Teacher unions joined forces with parents to boycott the tests. "...Year 6 pupils in 4,005 schools did not take Sats in the summer term," according to BBC News. The Sats scores are used to compile league tables or comparisons, a practice the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers calls demoralizing and unnecessary.
If England can do it, why can’t we?
Kansas schools have just completed their massive mandated spring assessments. Data were due into the State Department of Education on May 2.
The time has come to make this the last year of drill-and-kill teaching.
Thanks to idealists divorced from reality, NCLB criteria require that nearly all enrolled students must take the assessments. It will not take very many objectors to shut the system down.
To call for civil disobedience in the classroom is rarely done. As teachers, we rely on conformance for classroom and school order. But the destruction of the K-12 educational system under NCLB—maintained under the proposed "Blueprint for Reform"—has progressed far enough to lose its legitimacy. We are at the verge of declaring our schools, teachers and students failures based on criteria that trivialize true education.
Thomas Jefferson said: "When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty."
And enough, is enough!
It is time to end the narrowing of the curriculum to the few disciplines tested.
It is time to end the contrived pep sessions to get students to perform for the sake of school AYP.
It is time to restore professional decision-making to the professional teacher.
It is time to attract our best and brightest college students back into an honorable field where they are treated as professionals, not assembly line workers.
It is time to stop a system that is driving every ounce of creativity out of science and promoting memorization and drop outs.
It is time to stop blaming teachers for student failure that is beyond their control.
It is time to halt tying teachers’ salaries to pay-for-scores.
It is time to stop freezing the curriculum to some static national core and national test.
It is time to return teachers to professional development that is centered on new developments in their discipline and not on raising test scores.
If by next spring, our politicians in Washington cannot or will not end the disaster of standardized testing and teaching-to-the-test, Kansas parents, teachers and students can force an end to this classroom tyranny.