NEA launches campaign to end 'toxic testing'
NEA RA delegates voted to begin a campaign ending the "test blame and punish" system that has dominated public education for the past 10 years. The resolution to end "toxic testing" is meant to put the focus of assessments and accountability back on student learning instead of on continuous standardized testing.
NEA launched the national campaign last week with a petition drive.
"It's past time for politicians to turn their eyes and ears away from those who profit from over-testing our students and listen instead to those who know what works in the classroom, said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel.
Nearly one-third of the school year is now spent preparing students to take standardized tests, administering the tests and reviewing the test results. NEA's campaign is calling for a return to more student instructional time and less emphasis on testing.
NEA calls on the President and Congress to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), end the yearly testing mandates, and repeal federal requirements that student growth be used to evaluate teachers. NEA also recommends government oversight of the testing industry to monitor testing companies and their impact on education legislation.
In addition, NEA calls on states to lift mandates requiring school districts to administer outdated tests not in line with current curriculum; to stop requiring the use of those tests for any high stakes purposes; and to ensure that standardized tests are never used for purposes other than intended. This related directly to the decision by the Michigan Legislature to use the MEAP for another year instead of Smarter Balanced assessments the state Department of Education (MDE) recommended. MDE is saying the test will have to be revamped now to better align with Common Core instruction.
NEA will be asking state associations to survey teachers on the state of standardized testing and how those tests are being used. NEA plans on forming coalitions with other stakeholders, such as AFT, PTA's, and school boards to end "toxic testing" and instead use real accountability in public schools.
Make your voice heard and sign the petition today if you want to see an end to the use and misuse of high stakes testing.