An excerpt from a call to arms:
We [college departments of education – gfb]are now going to be responsible for the test scores of children that end up being taught by our graduates. In other words, if my son fails and his teacher was your student, it’s now your fault! And if you don’t make the changes needed to help your students “teach” my son how to do well on his standardized tests you, your department, your school, and/or your college will be slapped and eventually shut down. …
Remember NCLB? Yeah, some of you complained and some of you even managed to turn it into a productive line of research. And what was it that you complained about and what did all that research reveal? You complained that testing would not do anything to the achievement gap, that the curriculum will narrow, that the “least among us” would be hit hardest, and that linking student test scores to teachers and schools was problematic. Then after years of conducting research you found out that all of your complaints were substantiated. The achievement gap still exists, public school children now receive little to no instruction in the arts or the humanities, the children of poverty are bearing the brunt of this misguided ideological attack on public schools and value-added measures of teachers are extremely unreliable and the public reporting of these statistics causes harm to all involved with public education.
It is our turn to join with the children, parents, teachers and public schools. All across the country there is an “Opt Out” movement occurring. Parents are refusing to allow their children to take standardized tests (here, here, here), teachers are refusing to administer the tests, administrators are speaking out against the negative consequences associated with the tests, and some schools have actually stopped administering the tests.
What should we do? How should we respond? Who’s willing to be the first teacher educator to say: “No. I opt out too. I will not abandon everything I know about children, teaching learning and schools. I refuse to take part in a rigged political system designed to dismantle public education and thwart democracy.”
Isn’t it our turn to tune in and “opt out”?
I’ll ask again three years later:
Teacher education colleagues are you ready to organize and speak truth to power?
Can we move beyond simply complaining about Duncan and the reformers?
Can we look within the profession and demand that our leaders not offer “anxious” compliance?