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The Oklahoma Parent Teacher Association voted to urge parents to boycott all state tests that are not federally mandated.
Historian and teacher John Thompson writes:
Nate Robson reports in Oklahoma Watch that the Oklahoma Parent Teachers Association (PTA) has voted to boycott all non-federally mandated tests “in an attempt to pressure lawmakers to cut back the number of high-stakes tests students take.” The PTA also asked that the state Department of Education not use the test scores to calculate school A-F grades, and called for the exemption of all schools from A-F grading if less than 95 percent of their students are tested.
As the Tulsa World’s Andrea Eger reports, the Oklahoma PTA acted in “direct response” to its members’ concerns about the Legislature’s failure to reduce standardized testing. PTA President Jeff Corbett said, “Parents have had enough. Parents want more for their children than for them to be great test takers. The fact of the matter is this: Our children deserve better.”
Corbett further explained, “In Oklahoma, we know what it is to respond to disaster — and it is time that we responded to the disaster that high-stakes tests have made of our public education system.”
A grassroots Opt Out movement and a bipartisan resistance to bubble-in accountability have demanded a state government response to the testing mania. Parents, students, and teachers rallied at the state Capitol but the legislature did not listen. So, Corbett promised, “Together, we will take our classrooms out of the wallets of the testing companies and turn them back over to our teachers.”
I was in Oklahoma last month to speak to superintendents from across the state, and I got the distinct impression that they too are fed up with the deluge of tests. Many principals were at their meeting and were shaking their heads in assent at every negative reference to tests. They know that the current regime of test-and-punish is wrong. It is bad for kids and bad for education.
This is a huge step forward for the Opt Out movement. This movement is growing and can’t be stopped.
Robson’s story say:
Education Superintendent Joy Hofmeister on Wednesday said lawmakers could have avoided the PTA resolution by supporting legislation cutting the number of tests.
It’s not clear whether she supports the resolution.
The Oklahoma Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, said they want to see testing reduced, but would not say whether they supported the resolution.
The main concern is a testing boycott could hurt schools and teachers. That’s because blank tests count against teachers in evaluations and against schools on their A-F report cards.
The PTA resolution does ask that the state Department of Education not use the test scores to calculate school A-F grades.