Monday, February 25, 2013

Less Testing, More Learning

There is an event to support teachers who are facing disciplinary consequences for refusing to administer a test they feel is unworthy of their students and their craft this Thursday, February 28 at the University of Washington. I appreciate the invitation that was given me, but I have a previously-scheduled appointment on behalf of my local members that I am unable to reschedule.

My view on assessments in general is that they have taken the focus from rich learning experiences, a varied curriculum, and students themselves to arbitrary numbers signifying meaningless achievement on narrow measures. Not everything that has value is measurable. All good teachers know this. In my building, those subjects that are tested are emphasized, funded, scheduled, and imbued with worth; those that are not are neglected, un- or under-funded, not included in master schedules, and tacitly or overtly diminished. No child anywhere should ever be presented only with reading, math, and science--as if the arts and social studies and physical education and foreign language and CTE classes are without worth or secondary. In my building, too, almost one-third of our school year witnesses all three of our computer labs shut down, reserved exclusively for testing, testing, testing--not learning, learning, learning.

The reform movement has damaged public education. Thank goodness that courageous teachers--without leadership from the WEA--are standing up and simply saying, "No."

Scrap the MAP Event at the University of Washington, 2/28/13

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