Posts Tagged ‘opting out of testing’

Teachers at Rahm’s kids’ private school support ISAT opt out

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

ICEtheISATAnnounced on CTU web site:

by Maureen Schmidt – Faculty Association President, University of Chicago Laboratory Schools  |  03/11/2014

The members of the Executive Board of the Faculty Association of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools stand in solidarity with our fellow  educators in the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois. We support the teachers who are currently boycotting the administration of the ISAT in several Chicago Public Schools, along with the parents who have decided to opt their children out of the test.

We believe that their firm stance demonstrates the need for a continued and participatory discussion about the role of standardized testing in schools today.

PSAT for 3-11-14: Keep up the ISAT pressure!

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

psat_logo

 

The ice and snow are not letting up in Chicago and neither is the ICE the ISAT campaign!

Please read and share this letter to the editor in today’s Tribune, which I submitted on behalf of More Than a Score.

Then sign this petition to support the teachers who are teaching instead of testing this week. It has already received over 2300 signatures!

University educators support CPS teachers refusing to test

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Apple 34UPDATE: Number of endorsers is up to 210

 

February 28, 2014

STATEMENT OF SUPPORT FOR CHICAGO TEACHERS REFUSING TO ADMINISTER THE ILLINOIS STANDARD ACHIEVEMENT TEST

FROM UNIVERSITY EDUCATION FACULTY

 

As university faculty whose responsibilities include preparing future educators, we support the action of teachers at the Saucedo and Drummond elementary schools in Chicago who are refusing to administer the Illinois Standard Achievement Test (ISAT). Over a decade of research shows that an over emphasis on high-stakes standardized tests narrows curriculum, creates social and emotional stress for students and families, drives committed teachers out of the profession, and turns schools into test-prep factories with principals forced to comply as overseers—especially in low-scoring schools. We understand assessment as the process of gathering evidence about learning, from multiple sources, so that teachers can better support student learning. The ISAT, in contrast, contributes virtually nothing. CPS no longer uses the ISAT for promotion, graduation, or eligibility for selective-enrollment schools and is phasing it out after this year. It is not aligned with Common Core State Standards—which, regardless of how one sees them, Illinois has already adopted—and does not help teachers improve student learning. The pre-service teachers with whom we work are demoralized about a future of teaching in such a test-driven atmosphere. We teach our students—future educators—to stand up for their students, families and communities, and to take principled stands for social justice. That’s what the Saucedo and Drummond teachers are doing. We applaud them and stand with them.

(To add your name to this list, email Gutstein@uic.edu with your name, university affiliation, and department)

 

  1. Pauline Lipman, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  2. Rico Gutstein, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  3. Asif Wilson, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  4. Daniel Morales-Doyle, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  5. Eleni Katsarou, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  6. Arthi Rao, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  7. Joshua Radinsky, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  8. Irma Olmedo, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  9. David Schaafsma, University of Illinois at Chicago, English Department
  10. Kenneth Saltman, DePaul University, College of Education
  11. Joel Amidon, University of Mississippi, School of Education
  12. Nicole Marroquin, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Department of Art Education
  13. Wayne Au University of Washington—Bothel, Education Program; Rethinking Schools
  14. Bill Schubert, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  15. Federico Waitoller, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  16. David Stovall, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  17. Danny Martin, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  18. Ann Aviles de Bradley, Northeastern Illinois University, Department of Educational Inquiry and Curriculum Studies
  19. Eomailani Kukahiko, University of Hawai’i, College of Education
  20. David Stinson, Georgia State University, College of Education
  21. Minerva S. Chávez, California State University, Fullerton, Department of Secondary Education
  22. Katy Smith, Northeastern Illinois University, Educational Inquiry and Curriculum Studies
  23. Gail Tang, University of La Verne, Department of Mathematics
  24. Craig Howley, Ohio University, Patton College of Education
  25. Rodrigo Jorge Gutiérrez, University of Maryland, College of Education
  26. Erin Turner, University of Arizona, Department of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies
  27. Tom Pedroni, Wayne State University, College of Education
  28. Donna Vukelich Selva, Edgewood College, School of Education
  29. Michelle Fine, City University of New York, The Graduate Center
  30. Maria McKenna, University of Notre Dame, Department of Africana Studies
  31. E. Wayne Ross, University of British Columbia, Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy
  32. Noah De Lissovoy, The University of Texas at Austin, Dept. of Curriculum and Instruction
  33. Eugenia Vomvoridi-Ivanovic, University of South Florida, Department of Secondary Education
  34. Bree Picower, Montclair State University, College of Education and Human Development
  35. Beatriz S. D’Ambrosio, Miami University, Dept. of Mathematics
  36. Celia Oyler, Teachers College, Dept. of Curriculum and Teaching
  37. Jesse Senechal, Virginia Commonwealth University, Metropolitan Educational Research Consortium
  38. Ira Shor, City University of New York, The Graduate Center
  39. Thomas G. Edwards, Wayne State University, College of Education
  40. Christine Sleeter, California State University—Monterey
  41. Jessica Shiller, Towson University, Dept. of Instructional Leadership and Professional Development
  42. Deb Palmer, University of Texas at Austin, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
  43. Maren Aukerman, Stanford University, Graduate School of Education
  44. Christine Yeh, University of San Francisco, School of Education
  45. A. Lin Goodwin, Teachers College, Columbia University
  46. Stuart Chen-Hayes, Lehman College, School of Education
  47. Lee Bell, Barnard College, Program in Education
  48. Diane Horwitz, DePaul University, College of Education
  49. Gary Anderson, New York University, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
  50. Patrick Camangian, University of San Francisco, School of Education
  51. Antonia Darder, Loyola Marymount University, School of Education
  52. Lesley Bartlett, Columbia University, Teachers College
  53. Sandy Grande, Connecticut College, Education Department
  54. Michelle Gautreaux, University of British Columbia, Dept. of Curriculum Studies
  55. Kathryn Herr, Montclair State University
  56. Emily Klein, Montclair State University
  57. Craig Willey, IUPUI, Indiana University School of Education
  58. Swapna Mukhopadhyay, Portland State University, Graduate School of Education
  59. Kiersten Greene, State University of New York at New Paltz, School of Education
  60. Stuart Greene, University of Notre Dame, Department of English and Africana Studies
  61. Horace R. Hall, DePaul University, College of Education
  62. Lois Weiner, New Jersey City University, Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education
  63. Gustavo E. Fischman, Arizona State University, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College
  64. Amy Feiker Hollenbeck, DePaul University, College of Education
  65. Rebecca A. Goldstein, Montclair State University, College of Education and Human Services
  66. Enora Brown, DePaul University, College of Education
  67. Sangeeta Kamat, University of Massachusetts—Amherst, College of Education
  68. Stephanie Farmer, Roosevelt University, Dept. of Sociology
  69. Ron Glass, University of California, Santa Cruz, Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California
  70. Karen Monkman, DePaul University, College of Education
  71. Lisa Edstrom, Barnard College, Barnard Education Program
  72. Daniel S. Friedrich, Columbia University, Teachers College
  73. Marjorie Siegel, Columbia University, Teachers College
  74. Alan Singer, Hofstra University, Department of Teaching, Literacy and Leadership
  75. Barbara Winslow, Brooklyn College, Secondary Education
  76. Maria Hantzopoulos, Vassar College, Dept. of Education
  77. Sharon Whitton, Hofstra University, Department of Teaching, Literacy and Leadership
  78. Jim Brown, Wayne State University, College of Education
  79. Linda McSpadden McNeil, Rice University, Center for Education
  80. Matthew Weinstein, University of Washington-Tacoma, Secondary Science Program
  81. Victoria Trinder, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  82. Marie Ann Donovan, DePaul University, College of Education
  83. Rosalyn Baxandall, City University of New York, Labor School
  84. Amira Proweller, DePaul University, College of Education
  85. Judith S. Kaufman, Hofstra University, Department of Teaching, Literacy and Leadership
  86. Gregory Smith, Lewis & Clark College, Graduate School of Education
  87. David Forbes, Brooklyn College, School of Education
  88. Lois Weis, University at Buffalo, SUNY, Graduate School of Education
  89. Monica Taylor, Montclair State University, College of Education and Human Services
  90. Norma Lopez-Reyna, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  91. Gloria Alter, DePaul University, College of Education
  92. Miguel Zavala, California State University, Fullerton, Department of Secondary Education
  93. Barbara Madeloni, University of Massachusetts Amherst, School of Education
  94. Arnold Dodge, Long Island University/C.W.Post Campus, Department of Educational Leadership and Administration
  95. William Ayers, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education (retired)
  96. Peter Taubman, Brooklyn College, Dept. of Secondary Education
  97. Susan Gregson, University of Cincinnati, College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services
  98. Jackie Wiggins, Oakland University, Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance
  99. Tema Okun, National Louis University, Dept. of Educational Leadership
  100. Bill Hoecker, DePaul University, College of Education
  101. Judith Gouwens, Roosevelt University, College of Education
  102. Carl B. Anderson, Penn State University, Dept. of English
  103. Mari Ann Roberts, Clayton State University, Dept. of Teacher Education
  104. Isabel Nuñez, Concordia University, Center for Policy Studies and Social Justice
  105. Renee A. Middleton, Ohio University, The Patton College of Education
  106. Regina Sievert, Salish Kootenai College, Division of Education
  107. Jennifer Alexander, Richard J. Daley College, Business Department
  108. Sunshine Campbell, The Evergreen State College
  109. Marvin Hoffman, University of Chicago, Urban Teacher Education Program
  110. Chris Brown, University of Texas at Austin, College of Education
  111. Nancy Lesko, Teachers College, Department of Curriculum and Teaching
  112. Florence R. Sullivan, University of Mass., Amherst, College of Education
  113. K. Wayne Yang, University of California, San Diego, Dept. of Ethnic Studies
  114. Elizabeth Meadows, Roosevelt University, College of Education
  115. Benay Blend, Central New Mexico Community College, Humanities Dept.
  116. Nekaiya Herring, University of North Dakota, Dept. of Social Work
  117. Karen Graves, Denison University, Department of Education
  118. Lilia Monzo, Chapman University, College of Educational Studies
  119. Karen Gourd, University of Washington, Bothell, Education Program
  120. Jeff Bloom, Northern Arizona University, College of Education
  121. Aisha El-Amin, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  122. Eric Toshalis, Lewis & Clark College, Graduate School of Education and Counseling
  123. Diane Levin, Wheelock College, Early Childhood Education
  124. Brian Horn, Illinois State University, College of Education
  125. Scott Ritchie, Kennesaw State University, Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education
  126. Ann K. Schulte, California State University, Chico, School of Education
  127. William T. Trent, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Department of Educational Policy, Organization and Leadership
  128. Morna McDermott, Towson University, College of Education
  129. Susan Roberta Katz, University of San Francisco, School of Education
  130. Susan Wray, Montclair State University, Dept. of Early Childhood, Elementary and Literacy Education
  131. Sandra M. Gonzales, Wayne State University, College of Education
  132. Cindy Lutenbacher, Morehouse College, Dept. of English
  133. Mark Nagasawa, Erikson Institute
  134. Wendy Luttrell, City University of New York, The Graduate Center
  135. Mary Rapien, Bristol Community College, Division of Mathematics, Science and Engineering
  136. Carolyne J. White, Rutgers University, Department of Urban Education
  137. Isaura B. Pulido, Northeastern Illinois University, College of Education
  138. Bill Watkins, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  139. Michelle Parker-Katz, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Education
  140. Barbara Morgan-Fleming, Texas Tech University, Curriculum & Instruction
  141. Emma Haydée Fuentes, University of San Francisco, School of Education
  142. Joel Westheimer, University of Ottawa, Faculty of Education
  143. Brian D. Schultz, Northeastern Illinois University, College of Education
  144. Sumi Cho, DePaul University, College of Law
  145. Therese Quinn, University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Art and Art History
  146. John Rogers, UCLA, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies
  147. Kathleen McInerney, Saint Xavier University, ESL/Bilingual Education Program
  148. Linda Christensen, Lewis and Clark College, Oregon Writing Project
  149. Elizabeth Skinner, Illinois State University, School of Teaching & Learning
  150. G. Sue Kasun, Utah State University, Teacher Education and Leadership
  151. Paul Gomberg, Chicago State University, Department of Criminal Justice, Philosophy, and Political Science
  152. Andrea S. White,  Kenyon College, Psychology Department
  153. Sandra Yarema, Wayne State University, College of Education
  154. Michelle Maher, Oregon State University, Teacher and Counselor Education Dept.
  155. Todd Alan Price, National Louis University, College of Education
  156. Sarah Robbins,TCU, English Department
  157. Eve Tuck, State University of New York at New Paltz, School of Education
  158. John Duffy, National Louis University, Teacher Education (retired)
  159. Suzanne Baker, Denison University, Department of Education
  160. Anneli Frelin, University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies
  161. Mara Sapon-Shevin, Syracuse University, School of Education
  162. Ryan McCarthy, Wilbur Wright College, English Department
  163. Randi Ploszaj, Wilbur Wright College, English Department
  164. Bill Marsh, Wilbur Wright College, English Department
  165. Cydney Topping, Wilbur Wright College, English Department

Opt out threats continue – UPDATED

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Rocking the ISATSprepUPDATE: The Principal of Franklin has sent an apology of sorts to parents at the school for yesterday’s letter discussed below. Kudos to her for being a big enough person to say she’s sorry – not every CPS administrator (including Barbara Byrd-Bennett) has the decency to do that. However, there are still major problems with this attempt to justify the excessive testing in our schools.

Today’s letter:

Dear Families,

First and foremost I want to express my sincere apologies for the tone of my letter yesterday. I did not intend to upset anyone and I am sorry that I did. I’ve heard from many of you since I sent that letter and now I want to clarify the standardized test information.

I am proud of our teachers. They work hard all year long to prepare our students for a variety of achievement tests—the ISAT, the Selective Enrollment test, NWEA, and others. The work that they do is not only to prepare for standardized tests but, more importantly, to prepare your children to be excellent students overall, and teach them skills, including how to take test, that will serve them well throughout their school years.

There are a number of tests that we will administer and their results are used in different ways.
·         The SQRP:  CPS has developed the SQRP to rate the schools in the system. Therefore, our scores on the SQRP will be used to rate Franklin, along with every other CPS school.
·         The ISAT:  The ISAT will still be used for Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) .  The data will be reflected on our school report card. Additionally, the ISAT data is a valuable tool for our teaching staff at Franklin.  We use the ISAT data to differentiate and individualize instruction. It helps us get better at our practice and set priority goals, especially with the new Continuous Improvement Work Plan (CIWP)  process that is happening right now.  We also know that prospective families look at ISAT, NWEA, and other data when considering schools.

I want to clarify an important point: you may opt out of the ISAT and any test. I apologize that I did not give you accurate information on this point in my letter yesterday. I also want to be clear with you on this point: my hope is that most families will allow their children to take the test so that we as a school can have all the tools available to us to help us focus our instruction, identify gaps in achievement among the diverse population for our school and work toward continuous improvement in our teaching.

Franklin is a school with so much talent. Our teachers and students achieve in both academics and the arts. We have a supportive group of parents, teachers, and community. To weather challenging times, our community can and must come together to make it work—and to thrive. I want focus on this aspect of Franklin and continue that good work. My sense of urgency yesterday was driven by my concern that if many students opt out of the ISAT, the results can change the nature of our scores on the State Report Card, not to mislead or confuse you.

As always, I welcome your feedback and questions. I hope that this note helps ease any tension and clears up any confusion from yesterday’s note. We are all in this together and I support any decision you make on testing. I know Franklin families will do the right thing for their children and for the school community.

Margie D. Smagacz, NBCT
Principal
Franklin Fine Arts Center
225 West Evergreen
Chicago, IL 60610
(773)534-8510     Fax: (773) 534-8022

*****

E-mail sent today (2/11/14) from the principal of Chicago Public Schools magnet school Franklin Fine Arts to a parent who indicated she would like to opt her child out of the ISAT:

This letter is going to all parents today. Please send this blast to those that are buzzing right now and preparing their letter. This will seriously hurt the school.

You received a letter from Barbara Byrd Bennett, our Chief Executive Officer of Chicago Public Schools, regarding testing. First, ISAT is a required test under No Child Left Behind. Opting out of this test is not an option.

In addition, I want to clarify the purpose of the ISAT. It does provide an analysis of how our children are performing in relation to the Common Core Standards. This test will give us a baseline of what to work on with your children in preparation for the new statewide test next year.

Also, this test is linked to our Adequate Yearly Progress. We are a Tier 1 school because our children do well on the test. The more students not taking the test will mean that our status will drop to Tier 2 or 3 and put us on probation.

I understand your frustration. I understand your purpose. I realize that testing is an issue throughout the United States. However we are all held accountable for the performance of our students. Not having your child take the test will seriously jeopardize our school and staff and status.

If you would like to have a meeting regarding this assessment, please feel free to contact me.

Margie D. Smagacz, NBCT

Principal

Franklin Fine Arts Center
225 West Evergreen
Chicago, IL 60610
(773)534-8510     Fax: (773) 534-8022

The Mission of Franklin Fine Arts Center is to provide all students, including those with special needs, a foundation for progressing to higher levels in education. This foundation includes a challenging educational program that encourages students to work collaboratively, a focus on individual learning styles, the development of life and social skills, and the promotion of respectful behavior toward peers and adults. We also provide a rich fine arts education as an independent core subject as well as integrated into other curriculum areas.

****

Ms. Smagacz’s concerns are unfounded:

  • ISAT is not being used to determine school level this year.
  • Opting out of the ISAT is an option according to CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett.
  • The state of Illinois allows for a student who refuses the test not to be counted in a school’s overall percentage of students tested.
  • Common Core tests are still being written – to say that ISAT is important as a way to “practice” for the Common Core tests or to judge how students will do on those tests is a poor excuse for putting children through two weeks of meaningless testing. As MTAS has pointed out, there are many other tests also being given that supposedly align with the Common Core, including the Common Core quarterly benchmark tests and the NWEA MAP.
  • NCLB requires a school to have 100% of its students meeting or exceeding state standards by 2014. No school in Chicago will meet that standard. The top scoring elementary school in Illinois, CPS’s Skinner Classical, was at “only” 97% in 2013.

Please see this More Than a Score ISAT fact sheet for more information.

Students opting out of PSAE

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

testingpencils

Some students from Gage Park High School are planning to boycott part of the Prairie State Achievement Examination (PSAE).

About 80 Gage Park students walked out of a NAEP exam earlier this year. NAEP is a national exam used to compare districts and states across the U.S. The students objected to having their time taken up with tests that had no bearing on their studies, at a time when some students didn’t even feel safe inside the school.

A WBEZ report quotes the students saying they are sick of test prep and opposed to the use of PSAE test scores to evaluate teachers, principals and schools.

The danger of the PSAE boycott is that the exam is a state graduation requirement — students don’t have to “pass” the PSAE but they do have to take it.

Here’s hoping that they will show up, sign their names to the test, answer at least one question, and then do whatever else they feel moved to do.

 

 

 

Testing forum – from Seattle to Chicago March 19!

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

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PSAT for 3-5-13: Send me your ISAT stories

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

psat_logoThis is ISAT week and a lot of students, parents and teachers are thinking about opting out of the state tests.

PURE believes that standardized testing should be limited and that parents should have the right to opt their children out of any standardized tests.

We support SB2156, a bill to limit standardized testing in Illinois.

Part 1 of today’s PSAT – please contact your state senators and ask them to co-sponsor SB2156 and to amend it to include a parents’ right to opt out.

Parents in Illinois outside of Chicago have opted out of the ISAT. Some Chicago parents have also opted their students out of the ISAT in some grades – but since CPS uses 3rd, 6th and 8th grade ISAT scores to make student promotion decisions and 7th grade ISAT scores as a gateway to selective enrollment high schools, the opt out choice here can be hazardous.

So, PSAT Part 2 is to send me your ISAT stories so that we can continue to work to eliminate the high-stakes on the ISAT in Chicago (e-mail me at pure@pureparents.org).

PURE has an ongoing discrimination complaint against CPS’s student promotion policy. It was filed in December 2010, but due to CPS foot-dragging and the revolving leadership door, it has not been resolved.

Any information we can pass on to the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights about the CPS policy would be very helpful right now. This includes:

  • How principals, network officials, CPS administrators, or ISBE staff have responded to questions about opting out of ISAT.
  • ISAT testing problems.
  • Anything you have in writing about ISAT test policies or procedures.
  • Letters, e-mails etc. that you have written to anyone in CPS about opting out or other test problems.

I will contact you to get your permission before sharing anything with OCR.

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About the PURE Thoughts blogger
Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.
@pureparents