CPS in Action

Support the National Resolution on High-Stakes Testing!

It’s school testing time in Massachusetts and across the nation. With more than a decade of state and federally mandated high-stakes testing under our belts, has the nation come to terms with testing’s impact on our schools? Not so much.

In fact, this year’s school testing season has unleashed a national wave of resistance. More than 400 school boards in Texas, more than 1,400 New York State principals, and groups of education professors and researchers in Chicago and New York have each produced powerful statements saying enough is enough—stop the overuse, misuse and abuse of standardized testing in our schools. As part of this wave, CPS ally FairTest has initiated the National Testing Resolution, drafted by 13 national education, civil rights, parent and religious organizations, several local groups, and prominent individuals such as Diane Ravitch and Deborah Meier.

In just over two weeks, more than 245 organizations and 6,393 individuals have signed on. CPS was among the first groups to endorse the resolution, which calls on local, state and federal officials to reduce the amount of testing and end high-stakes test misuses. Recent endorsers include the Texas Association of School Boards, Palm Beach County School Board, FL, and Fairfax County Public Schools, VA; PTAs and other parent groups; national, state and local education associations; and civil rights and community organizations.

To sign on and see complete lists of organizational and individual signers, visit the National Resolution website: http://timeoutfromtesting.org/nationalresolution/. Please do it today, then reach out to your friends, neighbors and affiliated groups to urge them to sign on as well. Add your voice to the swelling resistance!

CPS's Linda Nathan, Ruth Rodriguez and Ann O'Halloran spoke at Occupy the D.O.E.!

CPS Goes to Washington to Occupy the D.O.E.

United Opt-Out National, which is organizing parents to opt their children out of high-stakes testing, sponsored Occupy the D.O.E. from March 30 to April 2. The event brought parents, kids, teachers and university professors from 14 states to Washington, D.C.  Signs with messages like “excessive testing stifles love of learning” and “tombstone” remembrances of educational opportunities lost created a circle of ideas around the Occupiers. Meanwhile, the voice of a professional singer reached up and bounced off the bland face of the D.O.E.

Advocates exchanged concerns and ideas for change on the plaza facing Maryland Avenue.  The event was live-streamed and included a screening of TEACH: Teachers are Talking at American University.  A follow-up meeting is planned for August to create a platform for change.

Well-known activist professors Jesse Turner, Mark Naison and Ira Shor spoke about past struggles and exhorted the group to further actions.  Other speakers were the prominent educators and activists Mike Klonsky and Stephen Krashen. CPS member-presenters Ann O’Halloran, Linda Nathan, and Ruth Rodriguez (read her comments here) spoke about testing and privatization issues. Cambridge College Professor Jim Horn shared his research on the KIPP charter school network.  The event culminated with a protest in front of the White House, detailing the concerns about the misuse of testing throughout the country and its effects on schooling and equity.

A Public Conversation about Quality Education in Brookline

The Brookline Educators Union, for the second year, brought together teachers, parents and other members of the community to discuss what it takes to provide quality public education. CPS members were among the 150 who turned out for this important discussion. “Brookline teachers were sharing – very publicly…what they generally only talk about with a few colleagues at lunch. There were some very powerful stories,” said Brookline High School math teacher Kathy Hitchcock. Brookline parents and students also shared stories of successes and challenges facing public schools.

Metco parent Ronaldo Cheek described the many ways Metco families contribute to and reap the benefits of Brookline’s strong schools. He reminded us that Metco brings in state funds while also expanding “kids’ definition of community…the first step in learning a larger responsibility toward a larger, more inclusive community.” Brookline High student Eva Ackerman challenged her school and community to prioritize civics education for every student, not just those in Advanced Placement classes.

MTA president Paul Toner and representatives from the Brookline Board of Selectmen and School Committee contributed ideas and thoughts on the need for communities to work together in support of public education and other community needs. Among the issues discussed was the threat of the Stand for Children ballot question. A presentation on the state budget showed how a fair approach to raising public revenue can serve the educational needs of all of our students.

“TEACH” Documentary Wins International Film Festival Award

“TEACH: Teachers Are Talking, Is the Nation Listening?” has received the Indie Spec Best Cinematography Award from the Boston International Film Festival. The winning films were announced at the closing ceremony of the 2012 festival at the AMC Loews Theater, Boston Common, on Sunday, April 22, 2012. TEACH was screened at the festival on Monday, April 16 before a large and enthusiastic audience. The screening was followed by a spirited discussion. Additional screenings are being planned for the Boston area and in cities all across the country. Arrange for a screening in your community to spark dialogue and action for change. Please visit the Teach documentary website for details. http://www.teachdocumentary.com, or email filminfo@teachdocumentary.com.

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