Stop the Counterfeit Tests!
A Call For International Teach-ins and Actions
Against High Stakes Standardized Testing
in the Fall of 2001
In a world growing less democratic and more inequitable, high-stakes standardized tests are partisan weapons that deepen segregation. The Big Tests are not authentic methods of assessment, but tools to regulate what people know and how they come to know it; assuming that one standard fits all, when one standard does not fit all. The Big Tests are one prong of many(with school takeovers and privatization) in a full-scale assault on ideals of education for democratic citizenship, beliefs which have always criticized tyranny. Remarkably, liberal and conservative politicians alike, and the courts and the mainstream media, support Big Tests.
Popular rank and file resistance to the tests is already rising. Educators, students, parents, and community people have begun to take direct action. We have led boycotts and strikes against the Big Tests, usually without the support of the traditional unions and reform groups.
It is clear that the top leadership of the education unions and other reform groups play a Quisling-betrayer role in this question. They wrote the standards and supported the tests, and the grade retention and merit-pay schemes attached. It is necessary for new organizations, built along inclusive lines, crossing borders of race, gender, and occupation, focusing on reflective action for social justice, to come forward in this time of intensifying social and economic crisis. The Rouge Forum and the Whole Schooling Consortium, and many other groups around the world, were formed to resist, yet to also build new kinds of caring educational communities.
We believe it remains possible to promote our ideals of education for
inquiry and social justice and still participate in public education, but
the spaces for creative inclusive work are shrinking. Our task is to unleash
the joy, exploration and creativity that should be part of any educational
experience--and to fight those who profit when they stifle learning.
The Action Proposal
Who: Everyone with an interest in education for social justice. You do NOT need permission.
What: International Teach-ins Against High-Stakes Standardized Tests
When: As soon as possible after schools open in the Fall of 2001
Where: In K-12 schools, universities, community centers. Every venue possible.
How: The inclusive format should ensure the voices and performances of many people, offering with this out- of-school action what cannot be offered in standardized schools: critical thought and action, creative performances, humor, art, song, theater, chances to build real humane relationships, sensuality, genuine concern for sustainablity, joy, and wisdom. We should unite young and old, across borders of gender sex, nation, race, but be mindful of the genuine border of social class, the split of those who exploit and those who work. We will provide information packets on request.
This is a Joint Action of the Rouge Forum and the Whole Schooling Consortium