EDUCATORS STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH CHICAGO TEST REFUSERS

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In a public petition released today, more than fifty educators and researchers, including some of the most well-respected figures in the field of education, pledged support for the boycott of the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) by teachers at two elementary schools in Chicago, Saucedo Scholastic Academy and Drummond Elementary School and called on Chicago’s mayor and schools chief to rescind threats of punishment for those who participated in the action.

Among the signers of the statement are former US Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, and activist and educator William Ayers.

Today, Monday March 10, the Chicago Teachers Union is calling for a Day of Action to support the boycotting teachers. The CTU is encouraging members and supporters to wear red and attend a rally in Chicago at 4pm. Supporters outside of Chicago can call the Board of Education at 773-553-1600 and say:

“I’d like to leave a message for all members of the Chicago Board of Education. I support families boycotting the ISAT and there should be no retaliation against teachers who stood up for their students on the ISAT.”

To add your name to the petition, send an email to educatorsolidarity@gmail.com.

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PETITION TO MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL & CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS CEO BARBARA BYRD-BENNETT:

CELEBRATE CHICAGO’S TEACHERS OF CONSCIENCE, DON’T PUNISH THEM!

Teachers at two public elementary schools in Chicago, Saucedo Scholastic Academy and Drummond Elementary School, have refused to administer the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT). By taking this bold action at great personal risk, these teachers are standing up for authentic teaching, learning, and assessment. We believe that these teachers are heroes who are worthy of praise and thanks, not punishment and censure.

The teachers at these schools believe that boycotting this test is in the best interest of their students. Hundreds of parents and students agreed. At Drummond, 112 students out of 178 students refused to take the test. At Saucedo, roughly 450 of 1200 students refused also. For teachers who declined to administer the test, this was not a day off — they were able to conduct actual lessons with students who opted out. Threatening to punish teachers who prefer to teach rather than give standardized tests is not in the best interest of students.

The ISAT test is being phased out, and will not be given next year. The results from this test will not be used to improve teaching and learning, to determine grades or promotion in Chicago Public Schools. It’s only purpose is to satisfy the accountability requirements of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation. NCLB demands that schools raise test scores every year, pressure which has led to an abusive over-emphasis on standardized test preparation nationwide.

Like early participants in the Civil Rights Movement, the teachers at Saucedo and Drummond who have refused to administer the ISAT have taken an enormous risk for what they believe is right. And like those early Civil Rights protesters, they are facing intimidation and threats that they may be fired or lose their teaching licenses.

We, the undersigned, call on Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett to stop all threats and punishments directed at the teachers of conscience at Saucedo Scholastic Academy and Drummond Elementary.

Signed*:

Curtis Acosta
Founder
Acosta Latino Learning Partnership, Tucson

Dohra Ahmad
Associate Professor of English
St. John’s University

Wayne Au
Associate Professor of Education
University of Washington, Bothell

William Ayers
Retired
University of Illinois

Kenneth Bernstein
Teacher
North County High School, Glen Burnie

Bill Bigelow
Curriculum Editor
Rethinking Schools

Stephen Brier
Professor
Ph.D. Program in Urban Education
The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Phyllis A. Bush
Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education, Fort Wayne

Alex Caputo-Pearl
Teacher
Frida Kahlo High School, Los Angeles

Julie Cavanagh
Teacher
Public School 15, Brooklyn

Sumi Cho
Professor of Law
DePaul University College of Law

Linda Christensen
Rethinking Schools

Anthony Cody
Co-Founder
Network for Public Education

Tammy Oberg De La Garza
Assistant Professor of Language and Literacy
College of Education
Roosevelt University, Chicago

Bertis Downs
Board Member
Network for Public Education

John W. Duffy
Retired
Illinois Education Association

Lisa Edstrom
Barnard Education Program
Barnard College, Columbia University

Stephanie Farmer
Assistant Professor of Sociology
Roosevelt University, Chicago

Judith Gouwens
Professor of Elementary Education
College of Education
Roosevelt University, Chicago

Helen Gym
Asian Americans United/Parents United for Public Education
Rethinking Schools

Jesse Hagopian
Teacher
Garfield High School, Seattle

Leonie Haimson
Executive Director
Class Size Matters

Nini Hayes
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Julian Vasquez Heilig
Associate Professor of Educational Policy and Planning
University of Texas, Austin

Robin Hiller
Executive Director
Network for Public Education

Brian Jones
PhD Program in Urban Education
The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Denisha Jones
Assistant Professor of Education
Howard University

Stan Karp
Rethinking Schools

Bill Kennedy
Urban Teacher Education Program
University of Chicago

Mark Larson
National Louis University, Chicago

Karen GJ Lewis
National Board Certified Teacher
President
Chicago Teachers Union

Barbara Madeloni
Educators for a Democratic Union

Eleni Makris
Associate Professor
Northeastern Illinois University

Morna McDermott
Associate Professor
Towson University

Deborah Menkart
Executive Director
Teaching for Change

Nicholas M. Michelli
Presidential Professor
Ph.D. Program in Urban Education
The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Mark B. Miller
School Board Director
Centennial School District
Pennsylvania School Boards Association

Isabel Nuñez
Associate Professor
Concordia University Chicago

Dani O’Brien
College of Education
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Bob Peterson
President
Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association

Anthony Picciano
Executive Officer
PhD Program in Urban Education
City University of New York – Graduate Center

Bree Picower
New York Collective of Radical Educators

Amira Proweller
Associate Professor
DePaul University, College of Education

Diane Ravitch
Research Professor of Education
New York University

Mary Cathryn D. Ricker
National Board Certified Teacher
President
Saint Paul Federation of Teachers, Local 28

Karyn Sandlos
Assistant Professor of Art Education
School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Mara Sapon-Shevin
Professor of Inclusive Education
Syracuse University

Nancy Schniedewind
Professor
State University of New York, New Paltz

Tim Slekar
Dean
School of Education
Edgewood College, Madison

Simeon Stumme
Associate Professor
Center for Policy Studies and Social Justice
Concordia University, Chicago

Daiyu Suzuki
Doctoral Student
Teachers College, Columbia University

Peter M. Taubman
Professor
Brooklyn College

Dora Taylor
President
Parents Across America

Angela Valenzuela
Professor
University of Texas, Austin

Bob Valiant
Valiant, ETC

Lois Weiner
Professor
New Jersey City University

Randi Weingarten
President
American Federation of Teachers

Barbara Winslow
School of Education
Brooklyn College

Colleen Doherty Wood
Founder
50th No More, Florida

Ken Zarifis
President
Education Austin, Local #2048

*organizations are listed for identification purposes only

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