My head is spinning after two incredible days at the Network for Public Education national conference. It was their first conference – and plans are already forming for the next one. This gathering of education activists from around the country was inspirational and energizing.
We met folks who have had incredible successes – such as the Providence Student Union’s campaign to remove the requirement for passing the NECAP test for graduation in Rhode Island and TAMSA’s successful reduction of high school high-stakes testing from 15 to 5 exams in Texas.
We also met folks who are deep in the struggle right now. In Chicago Public Schools the teachers at two elementary schools have joined together to boycott the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT). You can read more about what is happening in blog posts by CPS first grade teacher Michelle Gunderson here and here. Gunderson writes, “Educators and parents in Chicago joined forces this week to boycott the ISAT at two schools, Maria Saucedo Elementary School and Drummond Montessori. There are also over 1,000 parents at 37 other Chicago schools who requested to opt their child out of ISAT. They are supported in their decision by the Chicago Teachers Union and the Caucus of Rank and File Educators (CORE).”
The teachers have the support of President of the Chigaco Teachers Union Karen Lewis and AFT President Randi Weingarten – who were both at the NPE conference and have publicly stood up for the teachers in Chicago. The teachers also have the support of many parents. The school district has threatened to revoke teacher licenses (which they have no authority to do).
At DEY we encourage you to show your solidarity for this act of civil disobedience with the boycotting teachers in Chicago by signing their petition at Moveon.org. The petition states:
- We support the teachers who refuse to administer and the parents who opt their students out from the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT).
- We call on Chicago Public Schools and the Illinois State Board of Education not to give the ISAT test this year.
- There should be no retaliation by the Chicago Board of Education against the parents, students and teachers who have taken action to improve students’ education.