Friday, April 06, 2012

If Only We Stick Together

Gonna win, yeah! We're takin' over! Come on! ~The Doors, Five to One

This is so freaking encouraging. It makes my heart sing.

"We didn't go into this looking to start some big rebellion, says Michelle Purcell, a mom of three in the Seattle Hill neighborhood southeast of Everett . . . But a rebellion it has become. One that echoes a larger uprising around the country . . . The parents of 70 students (and counting) at one elementary school are refusing to have their kids take the standardized tests mandated by the feds under No Child Left Behind.

We will never have the money the corporate education "reformers" have to put into promoting their agenda of high stakes standardized testings, standardized curricula, the de-professionalization of teaching, charter schools, and profitizing public education, but we do have our voices. I've been writing here for some time that the only way I can see to turn back this assault on public education is for parents and teachers to join together to advocate for children, for education, and for real reform based on what actual research tells us will work.

Our state spends nearly $50 million a year on standardized testing, yet parents hear their schools pleading poverty. The Seattle Hill school has seen class sizes balloon up to 29, parents have been forced to come in to teach subjects like art, and teachers are being put on forced furlough. As the president of Seattle Hill's parent-teacher organization says, "I came to the conclusion we could find much better ways to spend that money."

These Seattle-area parents aren't the only ones pushing back, they're doing it in Chicago and New York  and Florida as well. Parents, teachers, and students are finding common cause and in the tradition of our democracy, they are standing up and saying "stop!" Even in Texas, the birth-place of No Child Left Behind:

. . . more than 100 school districts passed resolutions saying high-stakes standardized testing is "strangling" public schools. The schools commissioner there recently likened the "assessment and accountability regime" in education to the military-industrial complex.

These are our schools, this is our democracy, and these are our children. We do not have to stand idly by as this unholy alliance of deep-pocket business people and politicians from both parties try to ram this down our throats.

To paraphrase Jim Morrison, they've got the bucks, but we've got the numbers. If only we stick together.

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Anonymous said...

WOW, It never even dawned on me that we could opt out! I just emailed my principal in GA regarding me interest in opting out. These standardized tests have caused us so much grief.

Anonymous said...

reading this made me tear up a bit! like a little ray of hope shining out from my computer screen. Really something! Thanks for sharing! -Melissa

Wendy said...

Wow! I'm so excited to see other parents doing what I've been wondering about! We are still a year and a half away from kindergarten, but I was already wondering if I would be 'allowed' to just take my kids out of class during test days and do something enriching and meaningful. With tests lasting days and days, there is so much possibility!

Cave Momma said...

That is so wonderful. I hope CA will soon follow.