Nearly an entire school rejected the idea of administering yet another flawed standardized test. Imagine the hollowed halls, the pressure ringing in the risk. One by one, each teacher at Garfield High School, in Seattle, Washington, decided to stand for what they believe—that each of their students deserve a chance to learn, acquire sustained knowledge in the material learned, choices in how that material is learned, and fair and varied assessment. Those teachers decided enough with taking precious, limited classroom time simply readying students for a standardized assessment that only speaks to a sliver of material that may or may not be included in the curriculum. Those teachers decided they would rather teach.
This excites me about the change possible in Education. Imagine this movement; where educators decided to take a stance, begin a conversation about how and what we assess in Education, and not accept anything less than a path towards what is just. Education must have this difficult conversation; then Education must do something for every single student.
The system, flawed policies, are not new. What is new, are collective movements by educators calling for change. Imagine the rippling, as more educators begin critically thinking and speaking out loud about teaching and learning. And while one set of test questions might shed light on glimpses of termed knowledge, Education needs showers of identifiable and transparent learning for every student.
Teachers have been bound to their classrooms for years grappling with the effects of “high-stakes testing” and failed Education policies. Many of those teachers, especially in lower resourced schools, are often alone in their work, and the expectations and consequences are absolute. Those teachers standing up for change are not running away from the responsibility to engage students in learning, rather, their voices and activism raised the stakes of standardized testing for the system to now grapple with out loud. This collective conversation is calling for change, this stance by educators—a brave beginning.