Our children are not testing zombies!
MecklenburgACTS.org to support N.C. opt-out efforts
MecklenburgACTS.org is pleased to announce that we will be part of “Testing Resistance and Reform Spring,” a nationwide effort to advocate for more rational and productive ways to evaluate students, teachers and schools.
MecklenburgACTS.org’s efforts will include providing information and support to North Carolina families who are interested in opting their children out of North Carolina’s high-stakes standardized tests. We will also be meeting with state and federal leaders to advocate for saner policies.
A decade of high-stakes standardized testing prompted by the federal No Child Left Behind legislation has conclusively proven that such testing does far more harm than good. Negative effects include: narrowing school curricula to tested subjects; reducing children’s love of learning through stressful and repetitive test preparation; stifling creativity and innovation; increasing dropout rates; and driving many of our nation’s best teachers out of the teaching profession.
Despite this evidence, however, these tests continue to multiply, and their stakes continue to rise.
This is generally not the fault of local schools or districts, who must carry out mandates from above. Here in North Carolina, the requirements imposed by the US Department of Education as part of North Carolina’s Race to the Top grant have sparked the development of high-stakes state evaluations in dozens of new subjects. In 2013, the North Carolina General Assembly raised the stakes on state tests by requiring third graders to pass the state reading test in order to be promoted to fourth grade, and by adopting an A-F school grading scale based primarily on test scores.
While testing companies proclaim that “new and improved” tests will solve the problems of the past, this claim has no basis in evidence. As experts and educators have noted, standardized tests simply cannot measure the most important skills that our children need to acquire, skills that include teamwork, creativity, innovative thinking, complex problem-solving and entrepreneurship.
MecklenburgACTS.org has consistently advocated for alternative measures of student achievement and teacher effectiveness that evaluate the work that students and teachers do during a school year. We have also advocated for measures that genuinely improve student achievement, such as small classes, greater respect for teachers, and attention to the effects of concentrated poverty. We continue to call on state and federal officials to adopt these more productive strategies.
North Carolina families who are interested in this effort, or who have questions about opting out, can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. In coming weeks, we will post further information on our website, MecklenburgACTS.org, as well as on our Facebook page.
We will also hold a face-to-face informational meeting on the afternoon of Sunday, March 16, in Charlotte’s Plaza-Midwood neighborhood. Stay tuned to our website and Facebook page for more specific details on time, place and agenda.