To all those in favor of critical thought,
You have most likely heard about the situation in the Bronx at IS 318. On May 13 six classes of 8th graders staged a boycott in protest to being forced to take another standardized test, one of over two dozen this year. They boycotted one of the practice tests. An 8th grade social studies teacher, Douglas Avella, was falsely accused of instigating the students to boycott, and he is already in the rubber room and likely to lose his job entirely. Over the past week, a number of news articles and editorials have come out, including coverage from Juan Gonzalez and on WBAI's Democracy Now, and there has been a huge outpouring of concern and support for the teacher and the students. Recently, there have been a few other cases of testing boycotts in other U.S. cities, but this is the first one that we have heard about that was initiated by students. The students of I.S. 318 thought critically about their education, organized with each other, and then decided to take action. Their actions should be celebrated. The students and their teacher should be applauded and their message of urgency about the current state of high-stakes testing in our schools taken seriously.
We need to let the DOE know that we need more teachers like Douglas Avella. We need more educators who listen to their students, take their ideas and experiences seriously, and make it possible for them to respond thoughtfully and critically to their world.
The students of I.S. 318 stood up for what they thought was right. They have been taught by a beloved teacher whose job is now in jeopardy. It is critical that we stand up right now and show our support for Doug Avella and his students. Please send an email to Chancellor Joel Klein atLet him know that we demand the immediate re-instatement of Douglas Avella to his teaching position at IS 318 and the removal of any negative letters or ratings in his file in connection with the test boycott.
also, please cc your letter to UFT President Randi Weingarten at rweingarten@
Sam Coleman and Geoffrey Enriquez, on behalf of NYCORE
Priscilla Gonzalez and Donna Nevel, on behalf of Center for Immigrant Families
Jane Hirschmann, on behalf of Time Out From Testing
Sally Lee, on behalf of Teachers Unite