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Portland Pearson Protest — Photo Archive 0

Posted on June 24, 2015 by dmayer

Shemanski Park,  June 23, 2015 — 11 A.M. to 1 P.M.

About 100 people attended a rally organized by Oregon Badass Teachers to protest Pearson, a corporation whose name has become synonymous with high stakes testing. Many attending belonged to organizations that fought to pass legislation that would make it easier for parents to opt their children out of such tests. Stand for Children opposed the bill with saber-rattling threats urging the governor to veto it. Kathleen Hagans Jeskey, event organizer, announced during the march that Governor Kate Brown had just signed the Opt-Out bill into law drawing ecstatic cheers from the crowd.

Protesters, adults and children alike, took the stage to attest (no pun intended) to the horrors of high stakes tests in their lives. Johnny-Moneybags-Pearson literally offered kids money with strings attached — to no art, no music, no library, and so on. They weren’t having any of it.

Bill Gates surprised the crowd by arriving from Seattle, Washington in the Opt-Out Bus. He graciously posed for photos with members of the group causing some to wonder, “Does he finally realize the harm Common Core high stakes testing is doing to America’s children?” We can only hope.

All in all, it was a good day for Oregon’s children.

Related stories:

Badass Teachers protest Common Core testing at conference in downtown Portland

Protesting Pearson @ Teacher Talks Truth

Governor showed courage in signing test opt-out bill (OPINION)

Click on any photo to view the entire archive.

 

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Opt Out Resources 0

Posted on March 17, 2013 by dmayer

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More Opt Out Visuals

 

KBOO Opt Out of Standardized Testing

If you missed the forum, listen in here.

A panel discussion and Q & A on the growing movement of resistance to standardized testing, featuring Jesse Hagopian, leader of the teachers boycott of the MAP test at Seattle’s Garfield High School; Uvia Murillo, a Woodlawn Elementary parent who opted out of the OAKS test for her son; Elizabeth Lehl, a Vernon Elementary teacher; and Alexia Garcia, a Lincoln High student and leader of the Portland Student Union campaign urging students to opt out of the OAKS test. KBOOs Jamie Partridge recorded the forum at Grant High School on March 16, 2013.

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Why Opt Out?

  • High stakes testing fosters test score-driven education rather than meeting the individual needs of students.
  • The emphasis on testing puts pressure on the child, who learns that it’s not learning that matters but getting a “good” test score.
  • The child who does not pass the first time is identified for intensive coaching, making the child feel different. The extra time devoted to coaching is time the student may lose in enrichment subjects, PE, recess, and other activities that make school enjoyable.
  • The tested subjects become the focus of instruction to boost scores, leading to neglect of useful and enriching subjects such as music, art, shop class, even writing.
  • The tests favor middle class students and disadvantage low-income and minority students and students limited in English proficiency. As a result, disadvantaged students suffer a narrowed curriculum and are denied access to subjects that might engage them in school.
  • Investing money towards testing, new tests, and data collection diverts money away from providing a quality, well-rounded education for all students. That is money that could be used to lower class sizes, provide counselors and aides, and more time for teachers to interact with parents and students.
  • High stakes tests fuel push-outs, drop-outs and the school-to-prison pipeline.
  • Opting out gives parents a say in public education. Top-down mandates from federal and state policies have left the public, and the people most directly impacted – students, teachers, and parents – out of public education policy decisions. Opting out makes your voice heard.

How to Opt Out

  1. Send a letter to your child’s teacher and principal stating you are opting out of state testing for reasons of disability or religious belief. “Religion” can be construed broadly and you do not need to invoke a particular tradition or denomination. Suggest an “alternative learning activity” for your child to do during testing time, such as reading, researching, writing, helping younger students, etc.
  2. You may want to call your district just to verify that they share your understanding. Try to make this process as easy on the school teachers and principals as possible by getting all the most accurate information for your district. There should be a testing coordinator at the district level that can also answer any questions.
  3. If your child is in high school and opting out of the 11th grade OAKS assessment, he or she will need an alternative assessment in order to graduate, such as the ACT, SAT, or a locally scored work sample. Be prepared to state your preferred option. If your child is not in high school, no other alternative assessment is required.
  4. Make sure your child wants to do this. Don’t apply any pressure.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Will opting out cause my school to not receive funding?

By law, all students are entitled to a free, public education. It would be illegal to withhold funding from schools if students opt out.

Won’t test scores be required for college entry?

State test scores such as the OAKS are not required for college entry. Some colleges require SAT or ACT, but over 815 universities across the nation, including several in Oregon, do not require such test scores for admission. View the list at FairTest.

The  Test Administration Manual  from the Oregon Department of Education cites only disabilities or religious beliefs as a basis for opting out. Can I still opt out just because I don’t believe the tests are worthwhile unjust in their use?

Yes. We have checked with local ministers on this. Religion is a set of beliefs. Disagreeing in the use of high stakes testing is a set of beliefs. Additionally, it would be a violation of civil rights to allow some people to opt out due to their beliefs and not others.

Won’t this hurt the ranking of my child’s school?

It can. Schools that do not meet participation targets in all subgroups will have their overall rating lowered by one category. All subgroups with at least 40 students in assessed grades over two years combined must meet the 95% participation target. These subgroups include economically disadvantaged student, students with disabilities, English learners, and seven identified racial or ethnic groups.

Also, according to the new 2012-2013 Oregon Report Card, a school that does not meet participation targets for every subgroup for two years in a row will have their overall rating lowered by two categories and will be reviewed for particular supports and interventions. In 2013-2014, per the new Report Card, a school that does not meet participation targets for every subgroup for three years in a row will have their overall rating lowered by three categories which would result in such schools receiving either a Focus or Priority rating. However, there are no consequences to individual students.

What would it really mean to fall into a Focus or Priority category?

Schools in this category are to receive “interventions” that help students improve achievement. A team would need to examine why participation rate is low. Obviously, this forces an important discussion. Students in Priority and Focus categories based on low test scores receive interventions such as tutoring and closer monitoring of a school. Of course, it would not make sense to apply interventions simply on the basis of participation rates. This may be uncharted territory.

Didn’t receiving an NCLB waiver mean we didn’t have to have such punitive measures?

No. The waiver just renamed the measures. You can read more about that here: http://www.boldapproach.org/policy-blog-templates/stop-nclb-waivers

Won’t this harm my child’s teacher because they have to be evaluated based in part on test scores?

Participation rate should not factor into such evaluations. As a teacher would have proof from families as to their desire to opt out, this decision should not reflect negatively on teachers.

What about the new tests that are coming out, the Smarter Balanced Assessments? Will they be better and take less time and resources and provide better measures of learning?

It is hard to say what the quality will be, but we do know these tests will be more costly. They may take more time if they are given to even more grade levels. In any case, even if they are of “higher quality,” however that is defined, they will still pose the problems we have identified in terms of consequences: lack of application to student learning and narrowing the curriculum to tested subjects.

As parents, students, and educators, we need to voice how our education money in education should be spent. Should it go to more testing? Or should it go to smaller class sizes and programs and services. Find out what others are saying about the Opt Out movement, follow these links:

Do Not Judge, Do Not Condemn

My wife and I have decided not to put all the pressure of carrying out the Bartlbey Project on our son’s shoulders this year. When he is a little older and decides on his own that this is what he wants to do then we will definitely support him. However, we have not given in to the high stakes testing culture. We are going to “opt out” our son from NCLB testing (PSSAs here in Pennsylvania). We have asked other families to join us and some are considering it, but their support or lack of it will not deter us from our decision.

The Little Data Point and the Big Bad Test

This is a story written by Noa Rosinplotz, a sixth-grade student in the District of Columbia public schools. It first appeared on a Facebook page called “Children Left Behind,” a protest site for students and families. Noa sent it to her story, and she also wrote a letter, which follows the story. Students are not widgets; they are not pieces of clay. They don’t like what is being inflicted upon them. Once they become active, everything changes.

Opt Out Bumper Stickers, Yards Signs and Buttons

In January, when nearly all of the teachers at a Seattle high school decided to refuse to give mandated standardized district tests called the Measures of Academy Progress because, they said, the exams don’t evaluate learning and are a waste of time, people took notice. Since that time many other teachers, parents, and students have joined in to support them. They have released the genie from the bottle and it’s not going back in. Today many people are beginning to question the testing craze.

Social Equality Educators (SEE)

We oppose the major initiatives embodied in the Race to the Top (RTTT) program that relies on market-based approaches for our schools. Therefore, we oppose privatizing influence of charter schools that drain desperately needed funds from public schools. We oppose merit pay and other initiatives that seek to define teaching and learning through curriculum narrowing/culturally biased standardized tests.

Oregon Save Our Schools

Jesse Hagopian is a leader in the group Social Equality Educators focused on social justice unionism within the Seattle Teachers Association. He has written many articles on education reform. He co-wrote the chapter “Teachers’ Union and Social Justice” for the book Education and Capitalism Struggles for Learning and Liberation. Jesse teaches social studies in Seattle at Garfield High School and is one of many teachers boycotting the MAP Test.

Portland Student Union

The PPS and Portland Student Unions will be teaming up in organizing an Opt-Out Campaign in which students are encouraged to opt-out of taking their standardized OAKS tests. The Student Unions want to send a strong message against to the standardized testing system as we believe that standardized tests scores are an inaccurate depiction of a student’s knowledge, have an extremely high correlation to a student’s family’s income, have a high correlation with race, are expensive, and in all are taking up class time that we could use learning things that are more applicable to our lives, as well as be developing better relationships with our teachers and peers.

Seattle Education

We now have two levels of learners. Those whose fate is to memorize basic facts and the second set of learners who are learning how to think creatively and critically. The second level of students are for the most part in the private schools or the schools in the wealthier communities. With the re-segregation of our schools into neighborhood schools in Seattle, the line has been drawn quite clearly.

Garfield Teachers on Democracy Now!

Great Schools for America

It would be like a mechanic whose boss has said,” I want you to use the cheaper version of the brakes even though they’re not as good, I want you to use that.” And mechanic finally stood up and said, “You know this is bad for customers, right? You know the breaks are going to give out sooner, and I feel so strongly that that’s the wrong thing to do that I’m not going to turn to my boss and say no.”

United Opt Out National

Members of this site are parents, educators, students and social activists who are dedicated to the elimination of high stakes testing in public education. We use this site to collaborate, exchange ideas, support one another, share information and initiate collective local and national actions to end the reign of fear and terror promoted by the high stakes testing agenda.

Fair Test

The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest) works to end the misuses and flaws of standardized testing and to ensure that evaluation of students, teachers and schools is fair, open, valid and educationally beneficial.

Parents Across America

By the way, the third MAP test which is given in the Fall is solely for the use of NWEA. That’s why it’s “optional”.

Rethinking Schools

I walked away from the rest of my class and over to the three computers in the corner of my classroom. Two of my 1st graders, Jasmine and Jayden, sat at their computers with their headphones off, waiting for me to reset their computers to Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) test number 2.

“I got 162,” said Jasmine. “You got 142.”

“You did better than me,” replied Jayden with a frown.

Shelly sat at the third computer. “I don’t wanna do the computer test,” she pleaded. “Do I have to?”

Save Our Schools

Dear Save Our Schools Supporters…

We wish to offer an opportunity to express your support for The Letter of Endorsement of the NYC Field Test Boycott.

We the undersigned, education researchers and scholars from across the United States and abroad, support the New York City families in their decision to boycott the field test from October 23 to 25.

We wish to offer an opportunity to express your support for The Letter of Endorsement of the NYC Field Test Boycott.

We the undersigned, education researchers and scholars from across the United States and abroad, support the New York City families in their decision to boycott the field test from October 23 to 25.

Texas Parents Opt Out of State Tests

In Texas, more than 10,000 people joined a recent rally to protest it. In Seattle, high school teachers launched a boycott over it. And in Los Angeles, school board candidates are arguing over it — a debate considered so crucial to the future of education reform that outside donors have poured millions into the campaigns.

Dr. Yong Zhao

If just 6% of the children per school site were opted out of this grossly over-rated system of assessing students and holding educators accountable, we could begin to have a productive dialogue about more humane and complex systems of assessment and education.

Academicia — Stand Up: The Day the Teachers Said No 0

Posted on March 09, 2013 by dmayer

MAP Test Boycott: The Movie

It would be like a mechanic whose boss has said,” I want you to use the cheaper version of the brakes even though they’re not as good, I want you to use that.” And mechanic finally stood up and said, “You know this is bad for customers, right? You know the breaks are going to give out sooner, and I feel so strongly that that’s the wrong thing to do that I’m not going to turn to my boss and say no.”

Opt Out bumper stickers, yard signs, and buttons 0

Posted on February 19, 2013 by dmayer

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In January, when nearly all of the teachers at a Seattle high school decided to refuse to give mandated standardized district tests called the Measures of Academy Progress because, they said, the exams don’t evaluate learning and are a waste of time, people took notice. Since that time many other teachers, parents, and students have joined in to support them. They have released the genie from the bottle and it’s not going back in. Today many people are beginning to question the testing craze.

Fanning the flames of the debate is a newly released study identifying a stress gene. Slate DoubleX Gabfest posts a great discussion about testing based on an article that appeared in The New York Times February 6, 2013.  According to the authors of “Why Can Some Kids Handle Pressure While Others Fall Apart?”, researchers have discovered a gene that identifies how people react to stress. The conversation focuses on stress induced by standardized testing on students. Depending on their genetic make-up, researchers say, people can have either warrior or worrier reactions to pressure. Warriors, who are more easy-going and not stressed-out by tests, do better than worriers, who are generally more intelligent and better organized, but do relatively poorly on tests under pressure.

In Taiwan, where the research study was performed, administrators stopped giving the tests because they were disadvantaging, unnecessarily, the worriers. The test had been thought to identify the best and brightest achievers to go on to the university and professional careers. But based on test results, the people with higher IQs and excellent organizing skills were being sentenced to toiling in factories. Ironic.

The Little Data Point and the Big Bad Test written by a 12-year-old girl is read by her mother who is hosting the discussion. Her point, no pun intended, in not to be taken lightly.

Listen to the conversation on here.  The test discussion begins at the 21:30 mark and lasts about 15 minutes. Well worth a listen.

United Opt Out National

We opt out of high-stakes testing and we resist all market -based reforms that seek to privatize and destroy public education.

Let your voice be heard in the testing debate. Below are bumper stickers designed to support students and teachers who have been subjugated to unnecessary tests for far too long. These were designed at Build-a-Sign, a site chosen randomly from the internet. The Opt Out signs are interspersed with education appreciation ones. You may design your own and purchase bumper stickers and signs here or from a local vendor. Buttons were designed on templates provided at Make Pins.com. The objective is to support teachers who have no choice but to give meaningless test, and students who have no choice but to take them. UNTIL NOW!

Yard Signs 

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Bumper Stickers

 

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Buttons

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