AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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AFT Resolutions


WHEREAS, the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 increased accountability requirements, necessitating an increase in assessments and requirements for disaggregated data; and

WHEREAS, for nearly a decade, the implementation of accountability reforms has been a priority for states’ education policymakers; and

WHEREAS, each state has its own process for developing, adopting and implementing standards and assessments; therefore, what students are expected to know and be able to do can vary widely from state to state; and

WHEREAS, the development of the art and science of pedagogy has encouraged and improved the use of regular classroom assessments to inform instruction; and

WHEREAS, a program evaluation often requires the use of regular and timely student assessments, especially for students who are struggling academically and who are receiving intervention or remediation in reading or mathematics; and

WHEREAS, English language learners participate in testing to determine their respective levels of English proficiency; and

WHEREAS, the individual education plans of students with disabilities include monitoring and frequent assessment; and

WHEREAS, research indicates the need for increasing instructional time, particularly for low-performing students; and

WHEREAS, increasing the number and frequency of assessments has decreased instructional time; and

WHEREAS, in the spring of 2009, governors and chief state school officers from across the United States began the Common Core State Standards Initiative to develop a set of shared national standards ensuring that students in each state are held to the same level of expectations as students in the world’s highest-performing countries; and

WHEREAS, 45 states and the District of Columbia’s public education department in 2010 approved the Common Core State Standards for mathematics and English language arts; and

WHEREAS, efforts are currently under way to develop Common Core State Standards in science and social studies; and

WHEREAS, the transition from many states’ current standards-based assessments to assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards is scheduled to be implemented in many large urban areas during the 2012–2013 school year and completed everywhere by 2014–2015; and

WHEREAS, assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards are increasingly being used as a percentage of teacher evaluations; and

WHEREAS, many of the proposed assessments are being designed and distributed by testing and publishing companies, and not by educators in the classrooms; and

WHEREAS, testing has become a multibillion-dollar industry with a lack of oversight to ensure that student welfare is prioritized over profits:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will encourage their state and local affiliates to lobby their state and local legislative bodies to mandate an analysis of the time and funding necessary for student assessments; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will develop guidelines and draft legislative language and other helpful information that state and local affiliates can use with legislative bodies and other research organizations to conduct independent studies of testing; and

RESOLVED, that the results of the independent studies be reported to the general public by the end of 2013; and

RESOLVED, that the studies will include but are not limited to:

  • The number and types of assessments required by various entities, such as the federal government, state government, district and/or school;
  • The overall and per-student cost of the development, administration and reporting of all required assessments;
  • The amount of instructional time spent on preparing students to take assessments and on students taking assessments, as well as any loss of educator preparation time; and
  • The ways in which the results of the required assessments are used; and

RESOLVED, that the study results and conclusions will be disaggregated into the following groups of students:

  • Emergent bilinguals;
  • Students receiving intervention or remediation services;
  • Students with disabilities;
  • General education students;
  • Students by ethnicity; and
  • Economically disadvantaged students; and

RESOLVED, that the report will include a comprehensive audit of campaign contributions by test-publishing companies and other organizations profiting from the testing industry; and

RESOLVED, that copies of this resolution will be transmitted to the elected heads of all local and state affiliates of our union and to other education union allies where deemed appropriate.