Chalkbeat in Colorado reports that school authorities are worried about a mass opt-out by high school students in Boulder and in Douglas County and possibly other districts. The students say they have been tested nonstop during their entire school careers, and “enough is enough.” They are right.

 

This letter just in from a student leader in Colorado, who attends Fairview High School in Boulder, the epicenter of the student revolt. When the students organize and push back, they will change the national climate. Students are the true victims of our nation’s obsession with high-stakes testing and standardized testing. It is they who are losing a real education while their schools are compelled to administer test after test, taking away a month or more of instruction, dropping the arts and other subjects that encourage creativity. When teachers and administrators protest, they can be fired. The students cannot be fired. They are powerful because they are free to voice their opinions without fear of retribution.  If this time of national test mania should ever subside, it will be because students like these in Colorado stood together and demanded real education, real instruction, instruction meant to recognize their talents and to inspire them to ask questions, not to check the right boxes. As the scholar Yong Zhao writes in his last book about Chinese education, standardized tests are inherently authoritarian; they require students to give the answer that the authorities demand. These students reject authoritarianism; they want an education that challenges them, inspires them, brings out the best in them. And they are right. They are the Tom Paines of our time. May their numbers multiply. They act in the authentic American tradition of revolt against distant and oppressive authorities.

 

For their intelligence, their courage, and their resistance to mindless demands that destroy their education, I name these students to the honor roll of the blog. The adults are “just following orders.” The students are taking an active role in their own education.

 

 

 

 

 

Hello Ms. Ravitch,
My name is Jennifer Jun and I am a senior at Fairview High School in Boulder, Colorado. I’m writing to tell you that the senior class of our school, along with several other schools, is planning a protest of the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) test that is expected to take place this Thursday 11/13 and Friday 11/14.

 

I have been following your blog and updates to educational issues for some time now, and I simply wanted to reach out and let you know. It would be an honor to have our event recognized by a key individual in the national education reform dialogue like you.
After extensive and research and discussion our senior class has decided that the implementation of this test did not take into account student opinions, and also does not accurately reflect the Colorado social studies and science curriculum. Therefore, we students have decided to opt out of the test and gather by the school during the testing hours to protest the lack of student voice that goes into such educational reform.

 

The students have been actively initiating dialogue with school administration, the district, and intend to find other channels to talk to policy makers and individuals that are involved in implementations of such tests.

 

Students have made a 3-minute informational video about the protest, which outlines additional details about the event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38zAfVOu1tw&feature=youtu.be . We have also written an open letter discussing our opinions of the test: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1tbDg-SEqpYrBUwixGh4wuMu6B0YYnfftt6u-cI5dWmQ/edit?usp=sharing

 

The protest was just released to the public today, and here is one of the several articles outlining the event: http://www.dailycamera.com/boulder-county-schools/ci_26910001/boulder-valley-seniors-plan-protest-state-tests-this
Thank you for your time and for being such an active voice for the students and the betterment of education.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Jennifer Jun
Fairview High School

jenniferjunfhs@gmail.com