July 13, 2012
10,000 Strong and Growing for Putting Teaching Ahead of Testing
Teachers, Parents Unite Around AFT Petition Against High-Stakes Testing
WASHINGTON— Today, the American Federation of Teachers announced that over the past three weeks, more than 10,000 educators, parents and students throughout the country have signed AFT's petition calling for an end to America's fixation on high-stakes testing. The AFT and a growing number of parents and community leaders are taking a stand to restore balance to public education by prioritizing high-quality instruction informed by appropriate and useful assessments.
"Parents and teachers agree that it's time to put teaching ahead of testing so we can provide all children the rich, meaningful public education they deserve," said AFT President Randi Weingarten. "The balance is way off—and as a result, test-driven education policies continue to force educators to sacrifice the time they need to help students learn to critically analyze content and, instead, focus on teaching to the test. We are depriving our children of the learning experiences they need in order to succeed in a 21st-century knowledge economy."
In May, AFT's executive council passed a resolution against high-stakes testing and to ensure that assessments support, not impede, teaching and learning. Thousands of educators will consider the resolution later this month at the AFT national convention in Detroit.
Don Carlisto, a seventh-grade teacher from Saranac Lake, N.Y., who signed the petition, is worried about the impact high-stakes testing is having on his students and the teaching profession.
"Promoting a lifelong love of reading is one of the most important things I do as an English language arts teacher," said Carlisto, a member of the Saranac Lake Teachers Association. "I'm proud that my seventh-graders read over 1,200 books this past school year. But we are sacrificing time that could be spent on learning and promoting reading in order to focus on tests that too often are unreliable indicators of student performance, of poor quality and full of errors."
Follow AFT President Randi Weingarten: http://twitter.com/rweingarten
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The AFT represents 1.5 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.