A bold measure passed by the NEA RA probably has the testing industry as well as high-level national policymakers buzzing with concern today.
Connecticut’s 129 teacher delegates joined nearly 9,000 of their colleagues from around the country to address a significant resolution, one that will go down in the history books as the anti-toxic testing measure.
The measure calls for governmental oversight of the powerful testing industry with the creation of a “testing ombudsman” by the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Consumer Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission. The position will serve as a watchdog over the influential testing industry and monitor testing companies’ impact on education legislation. NEA will continue to push the president and Congress to completely overhaul ESEA and return to grade-span testing, thus ending NCLB’s mandates that require yearly testing, and to lift mandates requiring states to administer outdated tests that are not aligned to school curricula.
During the year ahead, NEA will launch a campaign connected with the anti-toxic measure.
The campaign will be comprehensive and seek to end the high stakes use of standardized tests, to sharply reduce the amount of student and instructional time consumed by tests, and to implement more effective and responsible forms of assessment and accountability.
In addition to actions specified above, as part of this comprehensive campaign, NEA will take the actions specified below.
Ask states to lift the mandates requiring school districts to administer outdated tests, unaligned to current curriculum, stop requiring the use of such tests for any high stakes purposes, and ensure that standardized tests are never used for purposes for which they were not designed or validated.
Ask state affiliates to survey teachers to determine how many formative and summative assessments are given, and report that data disaggregated to identify state-mandated assessments, district-mandated assessments, educator-designed assessments (at the school or district level) or classroom-designed assessments by a teacher for a particular class.
Urge the public to support the use of grade span (i.e., once in elementary school, once in middle school, and once in high school) standardized tests to reduce the amount of federally-mandated tests.
Partner with Education International and its affiliates to raise awareness about the widespread misuse of standardized tests and commercialization of public education on a global scale.
And have NEA and its affiliates collaborate and form coalitions with the American Federation of Teachers, school board associations, administrator organizations, PTAs, PTSOs, other parent groups, business groups, such as Chambers of Commerce, and any other groups seeking to eliminate high stakes testing and its misuses.
Share what part you may be playing in supporting the NEA anti-toxic testing measure.
Finally, don’t miss another action taken in Denver when Connecticut delegates joined their colleagues in calling on U.S.Education Secretary Arne Duncan to quit.
The vote is a “venting of frustration of too many things that are wrong,” said Dennis Van Roekel, the outgoing president of NEA. He said it wasn’t directed at Duncan personally, but was about teachers wanting what is best for students.
CEA President Sheila Cohen said, “Connecticut’s delegates were squarely behind this new business item to oust Duncan. Teachers are deserving of respect and the teaching profession deserves a strong voice in decision making. Unfortunately, Duncan has given extremely short shrift to both.”