Monday, March 3, 2014

A statement given at a press conference with Drummond teachers who boycotted the ISAT: More Than a Score by Cassie Cresswell/ UPDATE: ISAT BOYCOTT SPREADS TO 74 SCHOOLS



I am speaking on behalf of More Than a Score, a coalition of Chicago parents, teachers, and students fighting against the misuse and overuse of standardized testing in the Chicago Public Schools. 

We are here in support of the teachers here at Drummond and at Saucedo school who have refused to administer the ISAT. We fully encourage any parents who wish to opt their students out of the test to do so. However, we are also here because we are very concerned about the ethical treatment of children and families who have opted out of the ISAT. 

A webinar went to all CPS principals yesterday telling them to place the test in front of all children and read test directions verbatim to all children, even if their parents have opted them out of this test. This comes after CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett sent two letters to parents telling them they have the right to opt out, and after years of CPS allowing children to opt out of the ISAT with no such treatment. 

It is unclear where directives are coming from regarding this move, but pushing a policy of forcing children to refuse a test is wrong. Putting children in a position that requires disobeying their teacher—the adult that their parents entrust them into the care of every school day—is wrongheaded and abusive. Pressuring children, some as young as eight years old, to participate in activities against their parent or guardian’s wishes is unethical and immoral. 

The argument that schools must administer the test because it is the law does not trump a parents’ decision of what’s best for their child. There has been a law in Illinois that children in elementary schools should get daily PE classes, but that law has been ignored by CPS officials for decades. There are federal laws that are supposed to protect kids who require medical or special education services at school, and there are children in this district who are not getting those services. 

CPS has said that the district may risk losing Title I funding due to testing opt outs. There is no evidence that this is the case. We have reviewed the US Code and the Code of Federal Regulations and found no references to automatic funding cuts for failure to make Adequate Yearly Progress. This district has not made AYP since at least 2005. Only 64 CPS schools made AYP last year. If there were any cuts, they’ve happened already. CPS is wrong when it says that it is the law to put a test in front of a child whose parent or legal guardian has refused the test on their behalf. 

During the ISAT testing window, we fully expect principals and teachers–the adults whom we entrust our children’s care to every day of the school year—to treat our children with kindness, to allow them to engage in alternative quiet activities during the test, and to respect our wishes as parents and guardians to direct our children’s education. 

All parents should demand nothing less. 



IFT support from Drummond, Saucedo
 
From Progress Illinois:

The Illinois Federation of Teachers has also voiced their support for educators who refuse to administer the ISAT, including the more than 40 teachers at Saucedo that voted unanimously against giving their students the test. 

"Facing the threat of discipline or termination, these brave teachers are standing up for what they believe is best for their students, no matter the personal consequences. It is nothing short of a profile in courage,” said President of the Illinois Federation of Teachers Dan Montgomery in a statement. “The preparation and administration of this test brings teaching to a halt and robs students of valuable time to learn. The ISAT is not appropriately aligned to curriculum and forces educators to teach to an unnecessary test that is defunct and has absolutely no practical use. This is merely testing for testing’s sake, and we encourage parents to work with their teachers to opt out. We also strongly encourage CPS to reconsider their plans to punish teachers for doing the right thing. IFT members around the state salute and stand with these teachers and parents as they stand up for their students.”

This excerpt is from Battle Brewing Between CPS, Teachers Over ISAT Boycott 

 

ISAT BOYCOTT SPREADS TO 74 SCHOOLS
Parents choose education over indoctrination by opting their children out

CHICAGO – Despite repeated threats and miscommunication from the school district, parents at 74 Chicago Public Schools are opting their children out of the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT). Teachers at two schools, Saucedo and Drummond, said they intend to boycott the low-stakes test when it is to be formerly administered on Tuesday. (Source: More Than A Score: http://morethanascorechicago.org/).

Via robo calls and other scare tactics, CPS officials are telling parents that that if too many parents have their children opt out, the district faces losing state and federal funding. Catalyst Chicago, an independent publication dedicated to education, says: “Loss of such funding is unprecedented and at most it could trigger reallocating funds, but even that is highly unlikely….”

Students are not legally obligated to take the ISAT and parents have the legal right to “direct the upbringing and education of their children.”
 
Disney II Elementary Magnet School
Chopin School
Burley Elementary School
Pritzker School
Manierre Elementary School
Garvey Elementary School
Ray Elementary School
Addams Elementary School
Saucedo Scholastic Academy
Grimes School
Mount Greenwood Elementary School
Drummond Montessori
Mayer Magnet School
Nettelhorst Elementary School
Thorp (OA) Scholastic Academy
Coonley Elementary School
Belding Elementary School
Bell Elementary School
Ogden Elementary School
Franklin Fine Arts Center
Blaine Elementary School
Burr Elementary School
Byrne Elementary School
Clissold Elementary School
Galileo Elementary School
Goethe Elementary School
Inter-American Elementary Magnet School
Kenwood Academy High School
Lane Technical High School
Morrill Math & Science School
Mitchell Elementary School
Sheridan Math & Science Academy
Stone Scholastic Academy
Telpochcalli Elementary School
Taft High School
Whitney M Young Magnet High School
Otis Elementary School
Ella Flagg Young Elementary School
Hefferan Elementary School
Alcott Elementary School
Smyser Elementary School
Waters School
Ravenswood Elementary School
Gallistel Language Academy
South Loop Elementary School
Suder Montessori Magnet School
Clay Elementary School
Jungman Elementary School
Leland Elementary School
Thorp (James) Elementary School
Taylor Elementary School
Ruiz Elementary School
Azuela Elementary School
Gunsaulus Elementary Scholastic Academy
Mireles Academy
Ninos Heros School
Zapata Academy
Murphy Elementary School
Peirce Public School
Jamieson Elementary School
Pasteur Elementary School
Edison Regional Gifted Center
Lindblom Math & Science Academy
Murray School
Peterson Elementary School
Salazar Bilingual Center
Sauganash Elementary School
Sutherland Elementary School
Ebinger Elementary School
Eberhart Elementary School
Prescott Elementary School
McPherson Elementary School
Dever Elementary
LaSalle Language Academy

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