Teacher group ‘demands freedom from standardized testing’

A group of educators calling themselves Teachers for Good Trouble organized a national teacher sick-out today (December 15) to “demand” that local officials cancel standardized testing this year.

According to the group’s website, its vision is to “demand freedom from standardized testing” and its mission is “to build safe, nurturing, and justice driven school communities by eliminating standardized testing as a tool to measure performance during a pandemic.”

According to the group’s petition, teachers who participated in the sick-out today did so by not logging into virtual learning or attending in-person classes. Rallies were also scheduled in six cities across the United States, as the map below shows. (I have not confirmed whether teachers showed up at the Capitol in St. Paul, but a rally there was listed on eventbrite.)

Source: Teachers for Good Trouble

“We need STUDENTS to be the center of education and NOT standardized tests,” the group’s website states.

To truly put students first would be to recognize that they still need to master reading and math—even during COVID—and that tests will provide valuable data to help identify which students need extra assistance or experienced more learning loss from remote learning and school closures. It’s an accountability measure against lowered expectations, as well. And given the cancellation of tests last year, as necessary as that was, another year of cancelled tests gives us less insight into the academic toll a disrupted learning environment has had on students. Yes, students have not experienced a traditional setting to learn in this year. But to help set them up for future success, we need to know where our students’ gaps are so we can fill them. And if we are going to continue keeping students out of the classroom, up-to-date information about achievement (which currently doesn’t exist) could be used to improve virtual instruction and help drive future instruction.

As I write here, Minnesota guidance is currently directing the state’s public schools to prepare and plan to administer all required statewide assessments for the school year. This is a good thing, even if it might be challenging.