August 27, 2011

What if educators just said "No" to the test?

I've never known a teacher to say, "Boy, I love standardized tests." Quite the contrary. Most teachers and many administrators oppose everything related to high stakes testing.

Many outspoken educators are not shy about voicing their opinions on the  matter. They complain in faculty lounges, at staff meetings or on their blogs that the test undermines everything that is good about teaching and learning. It is unfair to students, who have a years-worth of learning judged in a single 150-minute testing session.

Worst of all, teachers declare, the test makes students hate learning. In spite of all of this, we keep administering this abomination every year.

As our standardized test approached  last year, I asked some colleagues why we keep giving it. "What do you mean?" one asked. "We just have to." Again, I asked why.

What if, I suggested, we just say "No?" We band together with voices stentorian and tell the bureaucrats to keep their test, because we don't want it.

Imagine every teacher in your state promising solidarity and saying, "Don't even send the tests, because we will not administer them." What would the government do? What could district leaders do? Fire every teacher in the state?

Maybe, rather than give the decision-makers time to contemplate this possibility, we should just "get sick" the day of the test.

Imagine the statement educators across the country could  make, if the tests arrived and there were no teachers to administer them.