Parents and educators often ask, “What can we do to stop high-stakes testing and other fraudulent “reforms?” There is a clear answer: Organize. Resist. Band with others to let your school board and elected officials know that you will not collaborate with policies that are harmful to children and to public schools. Tell them you will not feed your child to the Machine that tests, ranks, and grades children for no purpose other than grading the teacher and generating data.
As a reader wrote yesterday, Néw Jersey is doing just that.
“New Jersey is waking up and organizing against high stakes testing and other harmful policies of so-called ed reform.
“As reported by Save Our Schools NJ on its facebook page, at least 40 towns’ School Boards have recently passed humane opt-out/refusal policies, including:
“Bloomfield, Delran, Millburn, Montville, North Brunswick, Princeton, Robbinsville, Bernards Township, Black Horse Pike Regional, Bordentown Regional, Bueana Regional, Byram Township, Clinton Township, Delsea Regional High School District, East Hanover Township, East Windsor Regional, Elmwood Park, Evesham Township, Gloucester Township, Gloucester County Institute of Technology, Gloucester Coutny Special Services Schools, Little Egg Harbor, Livingston, Mahwah Township, Montville, Morris, Morris Hills Regional, Neptune Township, Pemeberton Township, Randolph, Somerset Hills, Southern Regional, Stafford Township, Sewdesboro, Township of Ocean, Union Township, Wall Townshhip, Washington Borough, Washington Township (Bergen), Woodbridge Township.
“Montclair NJ’s BOE is slated to vote on a humane opt policy Monday night, 1/26/15.
“(Parents should ask their districts about these directly, since districts may keep policies quiet so as not to inform parents as is reported here http://www.nj.com/education/2015/01/what_happens_if_nj_students_dont_take_the_parcc.html )
“Since Montclair Cares About Schools organized, a total of 14 towns have spontaneously organized their own “Cares About Schools” groups, including Highland Park, South Brunswick, RIdgewood, North Arlington, Florham Park, Nutley, East WIndsor, Verona, Manalapan-Englishtown, Dunellen, Howell, Millburn, Montville. Many of these groups are on facebook.
“Showings of ‘Standardized,’ the movie, and Take the PARCC events where community members can take sample PARCC tests and judge the tests for themselves, are popping up all over NJ. Some are sponsored by Cares About Groups, some by numerous other groups with their own names and styles, like Township of Union Park Advocacy Group.
“Statewide groups like Save Our Schools NJ and United Opt Out NJ have seen tremendous growth.
“Additional statewide sources like Speak up NJ http://www.speakupnj.org post addresses and contacts to write legislators and important links.
“Groups like PULSE and the Newark Students Union have been organizing in Newark, NJ to protest the mismanagement and lack of accountability of the state appointed superintendent Cami Anderson, and their concerns are being echoed by Mayor Ras Baraka and legislators who oversee public schools.
“And organizations in Patterson and Camden are raising their voices.
“I am sure there are countless groups organizing in NJ, not mentioned here.
“Name them. Share information.
“Find a group. Join it. Or Start one of your own.
“Speak out, be brave, refuse the tests, refuse to vote for anyone who advocates for policies harmful to public education and children. Organize.
“Keep going. And never, never give up.”