Posts Tagged ‘standardized testing’

Chicago united in fight for a better school system – CSMonitor

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013
Tribune's Brian Casella photo of closed Stewart School sign

Tribune’s Brian Casella photo of closed Stewart School sign

The Christian Science Monitor offered an excellent report on the year ahead in Chicago schools, “Chicago opens new school year: Will it be less testy than the last?

Reporter Amanda Paulson interviewed me and some other Chicago activists and got a strong, unified message:

The district’s critics are focused not only on the school closures, but also on budget cuts, a profusion of standardized tests, large class sizes, and a governance system that includes a mayor-selected school board rather than an elected one.

“It is looking to be our worst year ever,” says Julie Woestehoff, executive director of the parent group PURE, assessing the state of the public schools. But she is hopeful that the problems will be a catalyst for change. “Sometimes you have to bottom out in order to make the changes that really need to be made,” she says. “That will begin to happen because our parents are very organized, our teachers are very strong, and the community groups are working with everybody.

PSAT for 7-30-13: Tell the big box stores what our children and our schools really need!

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

psat_logoNot sure why WalMart and Costco need to get involved in our children’s education, but at least Costco is asking what we think about testing instead of just spending billions to force public education into a disastrous direction, as the Walton family has done.

Vote here in the Costco poll: “Are standardized tests a fair measure of student achievement?”

I posted this comment on the Walton Family Foundation – Education Reform Facebook page.: “Why would anyone who cares about public education shop at WalMart?”

Wonder how long it will stay there? Why don’t you try?





PSAT for 4-23-13: Support the student PSAE test boycott

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

psat_logoTomorrow, CPS high school students organized by Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools and VOYCE will boycott the second day of the state high school exam, the Prairie State Achievement Exam (PSAE).

The first testing day includes the ACT test, which many students need for college applications. The students are asserting their right to make up the second day test during a state-scheduled make-up test day next month.

The students say they are “under-resourced, over-tested and fed up!”

The students are making the direct connection between testing and school closing, which they oppose. They will hold a press conference tomorrow prior to the school board meeting,

For Public Schools Action Tuesday (PSAT), here’s what you can do to support the students:

  • Like their Facebook page.
  • Watch and share their excellent video.
  • Wear white tomorrow in solidarity.
  • Follow their twitter feeds – @chistudentsorg and look for #cpsboycott

PSAT for 4-16-13: Get out your smocks and get ready to play!

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

psat_logoFor Public Schools Action Tuesday today, you’ll need to get ready for the More Than a Score Play-In tomorrow. Bring your kids and prepare to learn through play.

Tomorrow’s elementary school report card pick up for Chicago Public Schools so there are no classes, and we will be done in time to get back to the school for report cards.

Here’s the press alert:

WHO: Dozens of parents, children and educators working with More Than a Score, who are concerned that testing has taken over the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) classrooms of our youngest children, pushing play-based learning out.

WHAT: We will set up play areas at CPS headquarters to demonstrate the power of play. We’ll be telling the CPS Board of Education that we want play back in our schools for all children. We’ll be playing with blocks, bubbles, fingerpaints, musical instruments, trucks, dolls, Play-doh, crayons and paper, puzzles, etc!

More Than a Score members will also pass petitions against the misuse and overuse of testing in CPS at the event and later in the day at local schools.

Girl & BirdWHEN: Wednesday, April 17, 9:30-11am (Brief press event at 10 am).

This is CPS elementary school report card pick up day (pick-up begins at noon).

WHERE: CPS headquarters, 125 S Clark Street, Chicago.

WHY: The youngest learners in Chicago Public Schools are facing multiple standardized tests—as many as 14 in some kindergarten classrooms – inappropriate amounts of seatwork and homework, and a lack of opportunities for play, exploration, and creativity. The combination of the longer school day, an overly academic curriculum for the youngest learners, and high-stakes testing is turning our children’s first learning experiences into an ordeal. Opportunities for true free play are becoming more and more rare in Chicago Public Schools.

We know that children learn through play and that play is crucial to children’s mental and physical health. We want opportunities for free play, the arts, and active exploration returned to classrooms and schoolyards across this city:

Bring Play Back to Our Schools!

PSAT for 3-19-13, Part 2: Come to the testing forum tonight!

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013


When: Tonight! March 19! 7 pm!

Where: Mt Carmel Missionary Baptist Church, 2976 S. Wabash, Chicago

What: Chicago Parent/Teacher/Community/Student forum: “The Case against Chicago’s High-Stakes Standardized Testing”

This forum will be crowded, so come early.

Hear from Jesse Hagopian, leader of the Garfield teacher test boycott in Seattle, a local Gage Park HS student who was part of a recent student test boycott, and our own Karen Lewis.

You’ll also hear about some of More Than a Score’s upcoming activities.

As we move into high gear with resistance to school closings, don’t forget that standardized testing enables school closing.

March 19 forum in Chicago with Garfield teacher Jesse Hagopian

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

March 19 flyer

More Than a Score and the Chicago Teachers Union are co-sponsoring a forum featuring Seattle teacher Jesse Hagopian, a leader of the Garfield High School test boycott, along with CTU president Karen Lewis.

It will be held on Tuesday, March 19, at 7 pm at the Mt. Carmel MB Church. 2976 S Wabash.

The Garfield teachers made national headlines earlier this month when they announced they would not administer the district MAP test. When threats were made to suspend the teachers, the students organized a boycott against the test as well, and in the end, so few Garfield high school students took the test that the results will be useless in teacher evaluation.

Come hear more on March 19! Spread the word by downloading and copying the event flyer.

PSAT for 1-29-13: Solidarity with Garfield teachers – and our new petition

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

psat_logoTomorrow, WEDNESDAY, January 30 is a national call/phone/fax day to tell Seattle Public Schools that you, your organization and your union stand with the Garfield test boycotters. Send your message to Seattle Schools Superintendant José Banda:

  • Phone: (206) 252-0180
  • Fax: (206) 252-0209
  • E-mail:

Here’s the letter Parents Across America/PAA-Seattle wrote in solidarity with the teachers.

Take some time today to listen to PAA’s testing webinar from Sunday Jan. 29 which featured Garfield teacher Sarah Johnson along with FairTest’s Monty Neill and national testing opt-out leaders Tim Slekar and  Shaun Johnson.

Looking ahead, the following Wednesday, February 6, has been called as a national day of solidarity for the Garfield teachers. More than a Score has chosen that day for a Chicago citywide testing petition day. Details and resources for petition passers are here. Please add your school to the list of locations for the Feb. 6 petition day.

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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.