2013 IFT Resolutions arrow

Resolution No. 23 - Resolution on High Stakes Testing

Submitted by: Chicago Teachers Union, Local 1

WHEREAS, the “Whereas” sections of this resolution are modeled on the resolution passed by more than 360 Texas school boards as of April 23, 2012, and was written by Advancement Project; Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund; FairTest; Forum for Education and Democracy; MecklenburgACTS; Deborah Meier; NAACP Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.; National Education Association; New York Performance Standards Consortium; Tracy Novick; Parents Across America; Parents United for Responsible Education-Chicago; Diane Ravitch; Race to Nowhere; Time Out From Testing; and United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries; and

WHEREAS, our nation’s future well-being relies on a high-quality public education system that prepares all students for college, careers, citizenship, and lifelong learning, and strengthens the nation’s social and economic well-being; and

WHEREAS, our nation’s school systems have been spending growing amounts of time, money, and energy on high-stakes standardized testing, in which student performance on standardized tests is used to make major decisions affecting individual students, educators, and schools; and

WHEREAS, the overreliance on high-stakes standardized testing in state and federal accountability systems is undermining educational quality and equity in U.S. public schools by hampering educators’ efforts to focus on the broad range of learning experiences that promote the innovation, creativity, problem-solving, collaboration, democracy, and an increasingly global society and economy; and

WHEREAS, it is widely recognized that standardized testing is an inadequate and often unreliable measure of both student learning and educator effectiveness; and

WHEREAS, the over-emphasis on standardized testing has caused considerable collateral damage in too many schools, including narrowing the curriculum, teaching to the test, reducing the love of learning, pushing students out of school, driving excellent teachers out of the profession, and undermining school climate; and

WHEREAS, high-stakes standardized testing has negative effects for students from all backgrounds, and especially for low-income students, English language learners, children of color, and those with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, the culture and structure of the systems in which students learn must change in order to foster engaging school experiences that promote a joy in learning, depth of thought, and breadth of knowledge for students; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) calls on the governor, legislature, and state education board and administrators to reexamine public school accountability systems in the state of Illinois and to develop a system that more accurately reflects the broad range of student learning, is based on the complete reliance and professional judgment of teachers as the central way of evaluating students, and is used to support students and improve schools; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the IFT urges the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) to call on the U.S. Congress and Administration to overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (currently known as the “No Child Left Behind Act”), eliminate testing mandates, promote

multiple forms of evidence of student learning and school quality in accountability, not mandate any fixed role for the use of student test scores in evaluating educators, and promote democratic, local control as the central power to be used to determine quality of schools, teaching, and learning; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the IFT calls on the governor, state legislature, and local education boards and administrators to examine public school accountability systems to provide full transparency of all standardized tests with disclosure of all items (including scoring materials and scoring rubrics) once a test has been administered and results have been reported; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the IFT urges the AFT to call on the U.S. Congress, the Administration, the governors, state legislatures, and state and local education boards and administrators for the full exposure of the costs and interests of all parties associated with the acquisition and implementation of all standardized tests; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the IFT calls on the governor and the legislature to enact a law that explicitly protects the rights of parents to opt their children out of standardized testing without penalty to districts, schools, administrators, teachers, parents or students; and be it finally

RESOLVED, that the IFT urges the AFT to call on the U.S. Congress, the President and the Administration to enact a federal law that protects states from being penalized by the federal government when parents exercise their rights to opt their children out of standardized testing.



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