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ICYMI: ISBE decides to halt interim testing plan

Thank you for making the difference!

In a huge win for students, parents, and teachers, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) yesterday decided not to make changes to statewide standardized assessments at this time. Over the past year, ISBE had been forging ahead with a plan to increase testing in grades 3-8 and add optional testing for students in grades K-2.

This would never have happened without you and the concerted efforts of the entire IFT! I want to personally thank every member who sent emails, made phone calls, and even testified in Springfield to help the IFT and our education partners stop ISBE’s ill-conceived interim assessment plan.

Frankly, I don’t believe this victory happens without our union. IFT was a key player in the fight from the beginning. Last fall, we joined with other education stakeholders to launch “Teach Not Test." Our website provides videos and other educational resources about assessments and offers ways to take action on the issue.

As part of our effort to stop ISBE’s plan to increase testing, the IFT also conducted a virtual “convening” of experts and educators in February to discuss ways to make assessments more equitable and meaningful. Last month, we took that message to the media, too, via an online discussion and information session.

We involved preK-12 teachers, paraprofessionals, higher education faculty and staff, parents, students, school board members and legislators in our campaign to limit testing.

As I have said, “We have a testing regime that has gone too far and is not helping children learn, it’s not helping educators teach, especially right now, post-COVID, when the needs of our students’ recovery are great and pressing … especially for our more underprivileged students.”

Thanks to your input and action, we have stopped ISBE from moving forward with a plan that would have made a bad assessment situation even worse. But this matter is not over.

In the days ahead, the IFT and our Union Professional Issues Department will ensure that educator voices continue to be heard as ISBE considers future changes to the current assessment system. With your support, we will continue to demand that Illinois adopt assessments that are more balanced, more relevant, and more equitable – NOT just more frequent!

Again, I thank you for all you have done to help us win this important fight on behalf of students!

You make us #IFTstrong.

In unity,

Dan Montgomery, IFT President

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