To the teachers at Saucedo Elementary and Drummond Elementary schools,
Teachers for Social Justice fully supports your decision to refuse to administer the 2014 ISAT test to your students. Thank you for taking this important step to protect your students from a week of testing that does not benefit them and does not allow teachers to teach. Your decision is a courageous one in the face of threats from the CEO of CPS that your jobs and your teaching certification may be at risk. By refusing to administer yet another standardized test you are saying “no” to the idea that a test written by a company far from the classroom can assess your students in a meaningful way.
Teachers are in a unique position to understand the damage that overuse and misuse of standardized testing can do to students. Research has shown that high stakes standardized tests narrow the curriculum; increase stress levels for teachers, parents and students, and drive many teachers from the profession. These tests make school less engaging and less relevant to students’ lives.
CPS has announced that this year the ISAT test has no impact on students’ grade promotion or admission into selective programs. The ISAT is no longer part of the “school performance policy” nor will it be used to evaluate teachers. CPS’s claim that the ISAT is aligned to Common Core standards is dubious at best since the PARCC exam, which is being designed to measure performance on those standards, has been years in the making and has yet to be released. The ISAT will not help teachers understand their students or improve instruction for them. Because CPS has not provided any valid reason to give this test hundreds of parents have opted their children out of this test. We applaud your decision to support your students and the teaching profession in this way.
Thank you for taking a stand against the misuse and overuse of standardized tests. Thank you for risking your jobs to give your students the education they deserve.
Teachers for Social Justice