Chicago testing forum with Seattle’s Jesse Hagopian

Seattle’s Garfield HS test boycott leader Jesse Hagopian with PAA Board member Julie Woestehoff at Chicago testing forum (CTU president Karen Lewis in background)

Garfield High School teacher and MAP test boycott leader Jesse Hagopian told the crowd at the Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago last Thursday night that he agreed with Arne Duncan that education is the civil rights movement of our time. But history teacher Jesse reminded us that the last major civil rights movement started with a boycott….and this time it might just be a test boycott.

All the speakers for our “The Case Against High-Stakes Standardized Testing” forum were outstanding. Student Leslie Leon told the story about students boycotting the NAEP test to protest the lack of safety at her school, a version of which was published in Education Week. Poet-activist Malcolm London shared a piece he wrote about education, school and life. Jesse shared the details of the test boycott at Garfield, and inspired everyone with his wisdom and fire. And of course, last but not least, CTU President Karen Lewis brought it all together with a call to stop the overtesting, the labeling and the school closings based on test scores.

This event was sponsored by a More Than a Score, a group convened by PAA Chicago affiliate Parents United for Responsible Education (PURE), and includes several parent groups. The forum was also sponsored by a teacher group (the CTU), a student group, and CReATE, the university research people. This broad-based alliance is essential, since separately we are accused of “fronting for the teachers’ union” (parents), “not wanting to be held accountable” (teachers), “goofing off in school” (students) or “being out of touch in their ivory towers” (researchers)! Together we can refute all of those arguments and make sure the focus stays where it belongs – with what research and the truth say is best for our children and our communities.

Posted on by Julie Woestehoff Posted in Misc

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