Contact: Aileen Kelleher, (312) 351-0395
For immediate release
Parents and Teachers Hold March Against ISAT On Last Day Of Testing
African-American parents and teachers say high-stakes standardized tests like ISAT lead to school closings in low-income minority communities
On March 13th at 3 p.m., parents and teachers in the Austin community will march from DePriest Elementary (139 S. Parkside), where teachers are refusing to administer ISAT tests, to the former Emmett Elementary building (5500 W. Madison) that was a casualty of the historic school closings in 2013 to illustrate how high-stakes standardized testing has led to destruction in our communities. Public school parents and teachers, as well as a parent of former students of Emmet Elementary, will speak at both locations in support of opting out of standardized tests.
Action Now parent leaders like Zerlina Smith, who helped organize the massive opt-out at Saucedo Elementary, have decided to hold this march to show that African-American parents, teachers and communities are fighting back against high-stakes standardized tests that disproportionately harm low-income students of color.
“The ISAT and other standardized tests rob our children of important instructional time and the scores are used as an excuse to close schools. I have a daughter who will be in kindergarten next year and she will be taking at least eight standardized tests! The Mayor’s kids go to a private school that only has one standardized test per year. Why aren’t our kids given that opportunity?” said Ms. Smith.
High-stakes tests have become a destructive tool of the corporate education reform movement that allows for school officials to label low-income African-American students, teachers and schools as “failing”. These standardized tests are used as justification for school closings and charter expansion, despite the fact that in its 2011 report to Congress, the National Academy of Sciences committee stated, “There are little to no positive effects of these [test-based accountability] systems overall on student learning and educational progress, and there is widespread teaching to the test and gaming of the systems that reflects a wasteful use of resources and leads to inaccurate or inflated measures of performance.”
The true reason standardized testing is so prevalent in our public schools is that it is another way for corporations to funnel money from the public education budget to private businesses. According to a 2011 report by the Brookings Institute, the 50 states and District of Columbia spend $1.7 trillion a year on high-stakes testing. This is money that could be better spent on resources for the most vulnerable public school students.
Just as African-American parents, teachers, students and communities organized against school closings and turnarounds, this march shows that they are building a base that is ready to challenge any corporate measures that harm the education of children.