Join us for a dinner celebration to honor the brave teachers, families and students who boycotted, opted out and refused this year’s ISAT.
Teachers at three schools refused to administer the test—asking only that they be allowed to teach instead—and more than 1,000 families at over 80 schools opted out. These decisions came at great personal risk.
Teachers could face retaliation from the mayor’s hand-picked board of education, and families and their children were intimidated and lied to for their decision not to sit for the exam.
We need to make a strong stand in support of these courageous teachers and families. Boycotting teachers should face no disciplinary action. Let our teachers teach! Let our kids learn!
Honor and Defend the ISAT Boycott
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
3300 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago
doors open 5:30 | dinner 6:00 | program 7:00
Live Latin Jazz by Maestroson
dinner | drinks | childcare
Hear from teachers and parents who boycotted the ISAT.
Tickets: $25 (free drink ticket included)
Children under 5 free
Limited tickets available at the door. No one will be turned away.
Any funds raised will be used to support Chicago’s anti-testing resistance movement.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for paper tickets or more information.
Why boycott? One teacher's thoughts
Chicago Public Schools teacher Anne Carlson explained her decision to boycott the ISAT and risk possible disciplinary action by CPS this way:
My name is Anne Carlson and I am a teacher at a CPS Montessori school. I have refused to administer the ISAT because I WANT to teach. I am also the mother of a CPS third-grader, who is NOT taking the ISAT.
Maria Montessori’s philosophy of education is often summarized in one sentence: “Follow the child.” I have chosen to follow the child instead of follow the rules. I have chosen to follow the child instead of following data because our number one job is respond to the needs of our children. I have to point out that I am not representing the views of ALL of the teachers or all the parents at my school. But, when the opt out letters started flooding in on the first day of the ISAT, I certainly felt vindicated.
By the first day of testing we had almost two thirds of our students NOT sitting for the exam. At this point in time, 73 percent of students eligible to take the test have opted out. There are rooms with only three children testing while the rest of us are held hostage in what I’ve been calling “holding pens”. I was told I was not allowed to teach or instruct while in the holding room; I can only supervise silent reading.
Well, I can confidently say, I have been teaching. The students and I hide in the “trenches” behind tall bookshelves reading stories about Cesar Chavez, Rosa Parks and other law-breaking heroes. One of my students stands guard watching to make sure no administrator catches us teaching and learning.
Why am I taking a stand and refusing to administer this test. Why the ISAT, when this corpse of a test is going away next year? Because this is NOT about the ISAT. If this were just about a meaningless test, then ask yourselves why CPS is going ballistic about parents opting out and teachers boycotting? We are watching them fall apart and have temper tantrums before our eyes.
I’m going to give you a history lesson because I’m not allowed to teach during the day. So I’m going to teach right now. Standardized testing, like IQ tests and the SAT test, came out of the eugenics movement. These were the people who believed intelligence was genetic and that whites were biologically superior. And standardized tests rarely improve teaching and learning. They sort and rank children into first class and second-class citizens, and this is not right! No child should be treated as second class.
And these tests are still being used in this way and people are profiting off of them. Schools are being shut down based on performance, teachers are under scrutiny and teachers fear for their livelihoods. Children live in fear that they won’t get promoted or won’t get into selective enrollment schools. Michelle Alexander wrote a book called The New Jim Crow where she talks about prisons in our country and the societal repression of African-American men in particular. The push for more and more high-stakes tests is another piece of the new Jim Crow. It is a link in the chain of the schools to prison pipeline.
So, “follow the child” also means paying attention to how children—and the schools they attend—are tracked based on these tests. Paying attention to which children are ending up in prison. Which children have their schools shut down. These tests have a disproportionate impact on black and brown communities. We have to follow the child.
I have been reading the mission statements from many of the elite private schools in our country: The Lab school, where Rahm sends his kids, and Sidwell Friends, where Obama’s kids go. And nowhere do you see these schools using Common Core-aligned standardized tests! Because they know it’s wrong!
We need to rise up and take back our schools. We need to listen to the great thinkers in education, not the test data. You never heard John Dewey, or Maria Montessori, or Paolo Freire, talk about standardized tests as if that is good teaching practice, because it’s not! We need to follow the child, listen to our parents and our schools and our communities, and take back our schools!
In a failed effort to bribe parents into supporting the massive round of school closings--the most ever in the nation--CPS offered a slew of new programs, facilities and services to children at welcoming schools.
We'll be tabulating the data we receive about each school and working to hold CPS and the mayor accountable for the harm these destructive policies cause.
Read our fact sheet and parent checklist in English and Spanish, then call us to let us know how things are going at your school this year.