Solidarity with Garfield. by Kipp Dawson

As parents working to end the horrifying excesses of standardized testing in our children’s schools, we express our strongest possible solidarity with the teachers of Garfield High School in Seattle. Your resistance is an inspiration and a tremendous validation of our work. As parents, we will defend any teacher’s right to protect students from these harmful tests.

For years, parents have watched as the testing machine has grown like a cancer. Misuse and overuse of standardized tests is strangling our children’s schools. We want our children’s education to inspire creativity, curiosity and independent thinking. That’s what their teachers want too. Instead, policy makers are doing all they can to reduce teachers to being test-administering drill sergeants. We salute the Garfield High teachers for modeling for their students what it is to think independently. We too have had enough.

The explosion in high stakes standardized testing occurs in tandem with other attacks on our public schools. Billionaire-driven privatization and charter school initiatives have put control of public resources into the hands of private, unaccountable operators. This agenda has not improved the quality of public education. Instead, neighborhood schools are closed at breakneck pace, destabilizing poverty-stricken communities of color. Standardized test scores are used to rationalize these policies that punish students, teachers, and schools.

We know high stakes standardized tests do not improve our children’s education. They do not help teachers succeed at their craft. They do not help schools become the supportive, community centers we desperately need. They are punitive, stressful, demoralizing and unproductive.

Our children are not data points. Our children’s teachers are not data points. We stand with the Garfield HS teachers and pledge our support for all efforts to end the terrible regime of misuse and overuse of standardized tests.

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  1. Tim, we need help to fight this standardized testing in our district here near Buffalo, NY and all across NY State. I am having discussions with members of our NYS Board of Regents and others, but I am getting no where. They tell us that if less than 95% of students participate in these standardized tests that they will cut funding to our district. It feels like we are being held hostage. I willing to put in my time and effort to fight this. What help can you offer us? Can you give us some guidance? Thank you so very much!

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