Chicago Teachers Union demands end of standardized testing

Robby Soave | Reporter

The Chicago Teachers Union urged school administrators nationwide to discontinue the use of standardized tests, deriding them as corporate tools.

The CTU recently released a report arguing that standardized tests are a faulty measure of student achievement. They also advance a pro-corporate agenda, the report said.

Corporate interests continue to push towards a test‐centered public education system that is clearly harmful to students,” according to the report.

The union’s anti-testing push is part of a broader campaign by teachers unions nationwide. Teachers at one Seattle high school recently went on strike, refusing to administer a test that they feared would be used to hold them accountable. (RELATED: Seattle teachers go on strike, refuse to test students)

Anti-testing efforts have also appeared in Providence, Rhode Island, and Portland, Oregon.

With propositions to tie teacher pay to student achievement gaining popularity among education reformers, teachers unions have stepped up efforts to end standardized testing. Without tests, administrators will have no data upon which to base merit pay for teachers.

Opposition to standardized tests put teachers unions at odds with reformers on the left. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel lost a merit pay battle with the CTU in September. And President Obama has supported policies that reward states for evaluating teachers based on students’ test scores.

But teachers unions have found a key ally in their push to abolish tests: the students themselves.

In Portland, members of a group calling itself the Portland Student Union have urged fellow students to boycott the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills. And in Seattle, many students have decided to stand in solidarity with teachers who refuse to administer the Measures of Academic Progress test.

“We really think our teachers are making the right decision,” said Obadiah Stephens-Terry, student body president at Seattle’s Garfield High School, in a statement.

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