Parents Across America (PAA) stands in support of the Portland Public Schools Student Union and the Portland Student Union in their opt-out campaign against the state-mandated OAKS test.
Excessive reliance on standardized exams narrows the curriculum, promotes teaching to the test, and leads to unfair and unreliable evaluations of students, teachers, and schools. The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act and the recent NCLB waivers harm our schools by promoting an overemphasis on testing and punitive mandates that are grossly underfunded, and especially harm schools with high-needs populations. None of this actually improves achievement.
We therefore support the efforts by the PPS Student Union and the Portland Student Union to oppose standardized tests, bringing the voice of students to the nationwide movement to replace high-stakes tests with sensible, meaningful evaluations.
If we want to improve student achievement, we should focus on small classes, quality pre-K programs, full-day kindergarten, stable and experienced teaching staffs, a well-rounded curriculum, attention to students’ lives outside the classroom and evaluations that are based on actual student work, rather than high-stakes tests We also need to promote diverse, inclusive schools where parents have a significant voice in policies at the school, district, state and national levels. Parents are not just “consumers” or “customers” but knowledgeable, necessary partners in any effective reform effort.
PAA is committed to bringing the voice of public school parents – and common sense – to local, state, and national education debates. Founded by a group of activist parents, we are a non-partisan, non-profit grassroots organization that connects parents and activists from across the U.S. to share ideas and work together to improve our nation’s public schools. We currently have 45 chapters in 24 states.