For more information and resources check out “Opt Out of the State Test: The National Movement” on Facebook and our website www.unitedoptout.com.
Our sites are dedicated to empowering parents by: finding support from other parents in their region; offering advice and research; and providing downloadable documents to assist them in the efforts to resist and end the high-stakes testing agenda
DID YOU KNOW…?
A parent’s guide to high stakes testing in public schools (HST)
HOW High Stakes Testing DESTROYS CHILDHOOD…a list of a few out of a sea of many….
AFFECTS SOCIO-EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING: Our system of constant testing seems designed to produce anxiety and depression.
KILLS CURIOSITY AND LOVE OF LEARNING: Actually limits and reduces the amount of QUALITY learning experiences. Rather than focusing on a child’s natural curiosity, HST emphasizes (and drills in) isolated facts limiting teacher’s ability to create environments that stimulate a child’s imagination.
ACTUALLY REDUCES A CHILD’S CAPACITY FOR ATTAINING NEW KNOWLEDGE: If children cannot actively make connections between different topics of study, they don’t remember what they learn from day to day. Most standardized tests are still based on the recall of isolated facts and narrow skills. (www.fairtest.org).
HIGHER ORDER THINKING IS REPLACED WITH SKILL, DRILL AND KILL: Most tests include many topics that are not important, while many important areas are not included on standardized tests because they cannot be measured by such tests. Teaching to the test does not produce real and sustained gains on independent learning measures. (www.fairtest.org)
HOW High Stakes Testing DESTROYS PUBLIC SCHOOLS…a list of a few out of a sea of many….
NARROWS THE CURRICULUM: The loss of a rich curriculum has been documented in research, in the media, and in teacher testimony. Forget art, music, and PE (in spite of the decades of research that correlates student overall school achievement to participation in these experiences). State-wide testing focuses only on math and reading. And with these critical subjects, teachers are forced to focus only on those test taking strategies that reflect the way material is presented on the tests.
LOSS OF SOCIALIZATION AS A CENTRAL CORE OF LEARNING: The opportunity to learn to socialize through recess, and collaborative classroom activities reduces children’s opportunities to develop healthy social skills. Being seated alone at a desk all day isolates children from learning how to develop community-based problem solving skills they will need as adults.
MOVING FROM PUBLIC SCHOOLING FOR THE COMMON GOOD TO PRIVATIZATION OF ALL SCHOOLS: 80% of all schools are anticipated to fail meeting their federally-mandated test score goals (called AYP) by 2014. Private sector charter schools are invited to take over local public school not meeting federal rules. Our tax dollars—intended for public schools for the common good—are then diverted to these for-profit enterprises, often run by hedge fund entrepreneurs.
DIVERTS GREATLY NEEDED FUNDS FROM SCHOOLS TO CORPORATE INTERESTS: The Department of Education has invested 4.5 BILLION dollars (Krashen, S., 2008) in developing new tests while millions of schools have cut art, music, and suffer from limited resources including clean drinking water or air conditioning.
TEACHING TO THE TEST: Schools, grades K-12, on average, spend 10-12 WEEKS before the testing solely on test preparation, replacing meaningful hands-on instruction with skill and drill.
HOW High Stakes Testing UNDERMINES OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS
VIOLATES THE 1st and 14th AMENDMENTS: The 14th amendment to the Constitution protects our rights to religious/spiritual freedom and this federal law supersedes state in regard to parental control over one’s child. Many school administrators, desperate for funding, try to intimidate parents from opting out of testing to keep federal funding for site participation; school participation is a requirement for federal funding under NCLB.
VIOLATES FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT OF 1938: If a child is given work or assessments to do in the classroom that will eventually determine the income of a teaching professional, that student is providing the catalyst for the pay. This breaches the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938, which states that sixteen is the basic minimum age for employment. It also says that when young people work, the work cannot jeopardize their health, well-being, or educational opportunities.
VIOLATES ALL CHILDRENS’ RIGHTS TO A FREE AND APPROPRIATE EDUCATION: High stakes testing leads to under-serving or mis-serving all students, especially the most needy and vulnerable, thereby violating the principle of ‘do no harm.’ For example, students living in poverty, who already lack critical access to books and free reading, are condemned to test prep instead of having opportunities to read. Monies desperately needed for vital school resources such as clean drinking water and roofs that don’t leak are being spent on testing materials.