Letter to Our Supporters from Us
September 2012 – A Letter to our Supporters
Supporter of Public Education:
Thank you for your interest in opting out of high-stakes standardized testing and for your bravery in taking this very important step in the defense of public education. You may be a parent, teacher, student, para-educator, higher education faculty, or community member. Your role may be a combination of these. Whatever the case, we are all responsible for preserving a system of high-quality education as a public good for all young persons in this country.
The central mission of United Opt Out is to eliminate the threat of high-stakes testing in public K-12 education. We believe that high-stakes testing is destructive to children, educators, communities, the quality of instruction in classrooms, equity in schooling, and the fundamental democratic principles on which this country is based.
We are inundated with the false narrative that our public schools have completely and totally failed. But continued public opinion surveys and reliable data from the annual National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) show two things: one, that confidence in our community schools is still very high and two, our achievement as a nation is higher than ever in all subgroups.
High-stakes testing is not supported by educational research as a measure of student learning and progress. It is, however, the crucial information needed by groups who seek to privatize public education and run it for-profit.
Lip service is certainly paid to students, teachers, and parents about the necessity of a good education. Yet, predominant reforms ignore the wishes of those working within our schools. Reforms also ignore the overwhelming evidence against test-driven mandates.
As a result, United Opt Out believes that our trust has been violated. It is dubious that test data is collected innumerable times throughout a school year to close schools, fire teachers, and ruin communities. If we cannot trust the decisions made with test data, then those who make the decisions should no longer have it. We own that data. It is ours and we do not have to give it up.
With Our Warmest Regards,
United Opt Out National
United Opt Out (UOO): Frequently Asked Questions
What’s your purpose?
UOO serves as a focused, point of unyielding resistance to corporate ed reform, test-centric educational practices, and the privatization and destruction of public education.
Do you have a mission?
UOO’s mission is to strengthen public education; fight corporate based reforms that are threatening the concept and existence of an educational system that is publicly funded, quality in nature and available to all; and, in particular, to end the practice of punitive, high-stakes and related activities that are fraudulently being used as “proof” of the incompetence of public education/ teachers.
How is your organization unique?
UOO is unique in that its core philosophy of action is based on the following concept: there are some principles that are so essential to learning, teaching, and maintaining a quality public system of education that they cannot and must not be negotiated away. This philosophy is represented in UOO’s motto: We don’t negotiate with children’s lives.
What do you hope to accomplish?
UOO hopes to create a more informed and involved parental and community base, increase community resistance to corporate ed reform activities that threaten public education, and to create an environment that leads to the demise of high-stakes testing and related activities.