Posts Tagged ‘test boycott’

Students opting out of PSAE

Monday, April 22nd, 2013


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.




Jesse H: Our education civil rights movement may also start with a boycott

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Jesse H with JW

Garfield High School teacher and MAP test boycott leader Jesse Hagopian told the crowd at the Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago last night that he agreed with Arne Duncan that education is the civil rights movement of our time. But history teacher Jesse reminded us that the last major civil rights movement started with a boycott….but this time it might just be a test boycott.

JesseHtalkAll the speakers for our “The Case Against High-Stakes Standardized Testing” forum were outstanding. Leslie Leon told the story about students boycotting the NAEP test to protest the lack of safety at her school, a version of which was published in Education Week. Poet-activist Malcolm London shared a piece he wrote about education, school and life. Jesse shared the details of the test boycott at Garfield, and inspired everyone with his wisdom and fire. And of course, last but not least, CTU President Karen Lewis brought it all together with a call to stop the overtesting, the labeling and the school closings based on test scores.

This event was sponsored by a parent group (More Than a Score – which includes several parent groups), a teacher group (the CTU), a student group, and CReATE, the university research people. I commented at the forum that this broad-based alliance is essential, sinces separately we are accused of “fronting for the teachers’ union” (parents), “not wanting to be held accountable” (teachers), “goofing off in school” (students) or “being out of touch in their ivory towers” (researchers)! Together we can refute all of those arguments and make sure the focus stays where it belongs – with what research and the truth say is best for our children and our communities.

From Seattle to Chicago: testing forum March 19th

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

March 19 flyerFrom Seattle to Chicago:

The Case Against High Stakes Standardized Testing

Tuesday, March 19, 7:00pm
Mt. Carmel MB Baptist Church, 2976 S. Wabash

With Jesse Hagopian, teacher at Garfield High School in Seattle and leader of MAP test boycott
and Karen Lewis, Chicago Teachers Union president

Sign up for this event on Facebook!

The well-publicized efforts of teachers, parents and students in Seattle in boycotting the MAP test there has brought the issue of the overuse and misuse of high stakes standardized testing to the national stage.

Join teachers, parents and students to understand the role high stakes testing is playing in undermining great teaching and learning in our schools.

Test scores are a key component of school rankings and closings, student tracking and promotion, principal evaluations, teacher evaluations, and all too often result in a limited and narrow curriculum in our classrooms. Tests unfairly discriminate against schools with low income students, students of color and students with disabilities.

We will discuss the many options for becoming involved in the growing movement against excessive standardized testing in our schools.

Childcare will be provided.

Sponsored by
More Than A Score,
the Chicago Teachers Union
and CReATE

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.

Chicago parents pass petitions at 37 schools to limit CPS testing

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

standardized-testsMore Than a Score press release – Feb 6, 2013

Chicago parents pass petitions at 37 schools to limit CPS testing

Joining National Day of Action to Support Seattle MAP Test Boycott

Chicago, IL: Demanding fewer standardized tests in their children’s schools, and more test transparency from the district, parents of children in 37 Chicago public schools gathered signatures before and after school today on a new petition created by the parent, teacher, student and community coalition, “More Than a Score.”

The event is also a show of support for the Feb. 6 National Day of Action to Support Seattle MAP Test Boycott.

The petitions ask CPS and the Chicago Board of Education to limit standardized testing and provide more transparency about the cost, amount and stakes of the 22 tests now being used in the district. The group intends to present the completed petitions all together to the Board in the near future.

“Our children just take too many tests,” said parent Joy Clendenning, whose children attend Ray elementary school and Kenwood high school. Joy was out early this morning while parents dropped their children off at school, talking to other parents and collecting signatures. “It’s getting to the point where the libraries and computer labs are being used for testing more than learning, and our children are missing out on other important areas of education because of all the testing.”

The More Than a Score petition has three demands:

  • Eliminate standardized testing for children from preschool to 2nd grade and greatly reduce it for 3rd grade and above.
  • End the use of standardized testing data to evaluate students and educators and to close schools.
  • Fully disclose the cost, schedule, nature, and purpose of all standardized tests.

Rachel Lessem, whose child attends Pritzker elementary school, passed petitions after school today. “Something has to be done,” she said. “CPS says they have to close schools and disrupt communities to save money, yet they are spending untold millions of dollars on standardized testing instead of small class sizes and other important improvements that might actually help struggling schools.”

The petition was written by parents and others frustrated with the scale, expense and consequences of the testing regime in CPS. The group has been disappointed with CPS’s lack of response to their concerns and hopes the petition will serve as a wake-up call to the Board of Education and the CPS leadership that parents, students, teachers and community members will no longer accept the status quo of high stakes standardized testing currently in use in Chicago.

Parents collecting signatures reported reactions of great interest and some surprise from the parents they spoke to. Jennie Biggs, who passed petitions at Mark Sheridan school, said, “Many parents asked me, ‘How come I don’t know about all this testing?’ Then, they would sign.!”

“Tests are taking over our children’s education,” Jennie added. “They should not be given so much weight in judging students, teachers, or schools. We think the best way to do that is to look at what children are actually doing in the classroom, not just how well they fill out bubble sheets.”

The group timed their event in part to coincide with a national day of support for the Garfield High School teachers in Seattle and all teachers in Seattle Public Schools who are refusing to administer the MAP test. These teachers have gained national attention and support for their stand against the Measure of Academic Progress, for its invalidity, waste of time and resources and its scandalous arrival to Seattle.

An online version of the More Than a Score petition garnered some 2,500 signatures in its first week.


Here’s the link to the map of schools where parents passed petitions today:

For more information, please visit

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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.