2012-05-04 / Top Stories

Aims At Standardized Testing

Internet Petition:
By Howard Schwach

A recent NY 1-Marist poll shows that the great majority of New York voters, particularly those with children in public schools, are angry with the way Mayor Michael Bloomberg has run the school system for the past ten years.

Much of the anger has been focused at the high stakes standardized tests that are used both to close traditional schools and to demonize teachers whose students do not do well on the tests, as well as take up valuable classroom time for test prep and practice tests.

Critics of those high stakes standardized tests have joined together and started an Internet campaign to petition for an overhaul of the mandated testing.

Sixteen organizations worked together to draft a resolution called the National Resolution on High-Stakes Testing.

The new group was formed in an environment of increased scrutiny of standardized testing.

So far, 14 New York City-based advocacy organizations have endorsed the new petition.

Nationally, more than 100 organizations and 2,100 individuals have signed on.

The campaign is based on a similar effort in Texas that gained the support of more than 400 school districts there.

“What we’re seeing is a disconnect between the popular support of people saying, ‘Enough is enough,’ and policy makers who are doubling down on highstakes testing,” Bob Schaeffer, public education director for FairTest, an organization that helped write the petition, told the New York Times recently.

Schaeffer said the creators of the new resolution, who included Diane Ravitch, were surprised by the response.

He said the Web site traffic was unexpected, and some users encountered error messages due to the volume of simultaneous hits.

Organizers plan to take their message to legislators.

“We’re building popular pressure to persuade policy makers to abandon a failed task,” Schaeffer said.

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