Education activists seek to collaborate with Occupy Wall Streeters

Here are two paragraphs from an interesting article from yesterday’s Washington Post — by Valerie Strauss.

A group of parents, educators, students and activists who have organized to work to eliminate high-stakes testing in public education is now seeking to collaborate with the Occupy Wall Street protest movement on specific demands regarding school reform.

The movement, called United Opt Out National , encourages parents to use “opt out” rules in their school districts that allow students to stay home when standardized tests are given. They say that the focus on high-stakes standardized testing in the No Child Left Behind era has failed to improve student achievement and instead has narrowed curricula, wasted public resources and caused anxiety and fear in children and teachers.”

What this proves to me is that every social or political group that wants media and/or Internet coverage is jumping on board the “Occupy” protests. In this instance, I feel it only weakens the “United Opt Out National” message. However, I can see why they are doing it.  Rather than using standardized testing results as the basis for providing children with the skills and knowledge they don’t yet have, U.S. school district administrators are using them to label teachers as bad. The result? Few university/college graduates are now going to enter the teaching profession which will result in a major teacher shortage in the U.S. in the not too distant future.

Here also are two related articles: (1) the Los Angeles Times on whether or not there is currently “too much emphasis on testing;” and (2) Outlook Online regarding U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan facing off with hundreds of Oregon educators.

Update Monday, October 17, 2011: Looks like the Obama Administration is looking for a way to reform the “No Child Left Behind” evaluation model. To find out more, read this.