Standardized Tests

Want more information on standardized tests? Check out these resources:

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.” They have an e-newsletter on testing issues, called The Examiner, and they are currently involved in activism regarding the reauthorization of ESEA. Through their website, you can:

Access numerous fact sheets and infographics about testing
Search a database of four-year colleges and universities that do not require the SAT or ACT
Contact legislators regarding testing and education issues

Visit them at www.fairtest.org or call (617) 477-9792. Their Twitter is @FairTestOffice.

The Network for Public Education is a national organization working to “connect education activists across the United States.” Its first national conference was held last year in Austin, Texas, and plans are in the works for 2015. Their website has detailed information about:

Pending legislation
Opportunities to take part in activism through email and Twitter campaigns,
News briefs regarding current issues.

Visit them at http://www.networkforpubliceducation.org, call 520-324-0881, or email robin@networkforpubliceducation.org. Their Twitter is @NetworkPublicEd.

Parents Across America is a “non-partisan, non-profit grassroots organization that connects parents and activists from across the U.S. to share ideas and work together to improve our nation’s public schools. Among other things, they promote pre-K, small classes, parent involvement, and well-rounded curriculum. Their website includes:

Petitions
Actions of the Week
An organizing toolkit

Visit them at www.parentsacrossamerica.org or email info@parentsacrossamerica.org.

Save Our Schools evolved from a national march in Washington, D. C. back in 2011, dedicated to educational activism. You may have seen a speech by Matt Damon on YouTube that was given in support of public education at that march. They are “dedicated to public education as the cornerstone of a democratic society [and to] education policy and actions that allow students, teachers, families, and communities to work together to meet the needs of all children.” Their website has:

Links to many organizations, blogs, and position papers
Information about pro-public-ed events around the country

Visit them at www.saveourschoolsmarch.org or email saveourschoolsmarch@gmail.com. Their Twitter is @SOSMarch.

Student Privacy Matters is a “national clearinghouse for information on protecting student privacy.” Their website contains:

Explanations of current student privacy laws, such as FERPA
Sample opt-out letters to request that your child’s personally identifiable information not be shared withthird parties
An overview of how to request which third parties have access to your child’s information

Visit them at www.studentprivacymatters.org or email info@studentprivacymatters.org.

Tennesseeans Reclaiming Educational Excellence (TREE) is a state-based group that provides up-to-date information on pending legislation as well as detailed information on how elected officials are voting on education issues. They also have a search function to find your legislators and their contact information.

Search for your legislators at: https://treetn.org/act/
View a voting report card at: https://treetn.org/reportcard/

You can also search for TREE on Facebook, and their Twitter is @TNExcellence.

United Opt Out is a national resource page with goals to “strengthen public education,” “eliminate the threat of high-stakes testing in public K-12 education,” and end the “privatization and destruction of public education.” They provide support and information to parents wishing to opt their children out of standardized testing and promote awareness of the effects of high-stakes testing. Their website includes:

Parent guides on testing, Common Core, and developmentally appropriate education
States-specific opt-out/test refusal guides
Detailed information on opting out for regular ed, special needs, and exceptional students

Visit them at www.unitedoptout.com or email info@unitedoptout.com. Their Twitter is @UnitedOptOut.

Standardized is a documentary that gives an overview of the rapidly increasing role of standardized testing in education.Through interviews with leading education experts and advocates, viewers learn how standardized testing came to have such a prominent place in our schools, who benefits from this flood of testing, and how our children are affected.

Hailed as a “must see,” by former U. S. Asst. Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch
Provides important context to local issues, as the Knox County Board of Education will soon be considering a $40,000 grant from Achieve, Inc. to examine what tests are being given to Knox County students

Learn more at www.standardizedthefilm.com.

Facebook Groups

Stop the TN Testing Madness – a page that serves to connect individuals so that they can “share information, personal stories, articles, videos, etc. related to standardize testing”
Opt Out of the State Test – the Facebook page for United Opt Out, described above

Other good reads include (but are certainly not limited to!):

Rethinking Schools magazine
Reign of Error and The Death and Life of the Great American School System by Diane Ravitch
Standardized Minds by Peter Sacks
The Mismeasure of Education by Jim Horn and Denise Wilburn
Assorted books by Jonathan Kozol, Alfie Kohn, and others

SPEAK encourages all community members to get involved in making sure that quality public education is a reality for every student in Knox County. Contact us to get involved!

Want to let the Tennessee Department of Education know what you think? Call them at 615-741-5158.