On Wednesday a hundred Chicago student activists angry about the city’s plans to shut down dozens of public high schools boycotted state standardized tests to send a message to the district.
“Today we are boycotting the second day of PSAE to show that standardized testing should not decide the future of our schools and students,” boycotting student Alexssa More, a senior at Lindblom High School, said at the protest, Chicago CBS reported. The Prairie State Achievement Examination is a mandatory state standardized test. Over 300 schools from more than 25 Chicago public schools headed to Chicago Public Schools headquarters downtown to take part in the action, Common Dreams reported. CBS put the number at 100 students.
A student-led coalition called Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools organized the action. CSOSOS argues that the planned closure of public schools will destabilize neighborhood communities. Many have pointed out that the planned closures are overwhelmingly concentrated in black and Latino neighborhoods, and thus that the supposed reforms have a disproportionate impact on students of color. What’s more, CSOSOS and other testing critics argue that the test-driven metrics that are a central part of the move to siphon students away from neighborhood schools are an inaccurate and extremely narrow way of gauging a school’s health.
Chicago students are not alone. Around the country educators, parents and lawmakers fed up with the abuse and misuse of standardized testing to exact a punitive market-based school reform agenda are fighting back against the testing regime. Check out the Colorlines.com infographic mapping the nationwide resistance to overtesting.