Monday, August 15, 2011

GEM High-Stakes Testing Committee Meeting Today (Monday) at 5PM

Below is a tentative agenda for today's committee meeting on high-stakes standardized testing.

As a reminder, we will be meeting in room 5414 at the CUNY graduate center at 5pm. Please bring ID and any updates you have about anything that might have been accomplished over the past month. We will spend a good portion of our time building strategy and outlining some concrete goals.

Proposed Testing Committee Agenda
Monday, August 15th

5-5:15 Welcome, Settling In
5:15-5:20 Introductions
5:20-5:35 Go around with updates from last meeting
5:35-6 Strategy Building Discussion
       Identifying goals and objectives more precisely, determining clear and concise next steps
6-6:50 Action Groups
6:50-7:00 Wrap-Up/Share Out 


GEM High-Stakes Testing Committee Meeting
Monday, August 15th, 5pm
CUNY Graduate Center
Room 5414
5th Ave and 34th St.
1/2/3/B/D/F/M/N/Q/R to 34th St.



MORE


Please consider joining us to build on the growing national awareness of the
major concerns around the effects of high-stakes testing. Between teaching
to the tests <http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/13/education/13education.html>
, the widespread cheating scandals <
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/how-many-testing-scandals-do-we-need-as-a-wake-up-call/2011/08/07/gIQAIvfZ0I_blog.html#pagebreak>
, and the over-use of funds <
http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/educrats_win_race_to_the_top_ruhD1i3QH0CJWA920eKMgK
> for testing-related "accountability purposes" and the for-profit
companies creating these tests, the focus of this school reform movement has
devolved into what seems like madness. We must build a response of concerned
citizens and present the alternative visions for what creative, engaging
schools could look like.

After an inspiring day at the Save Our Schools <
http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/teachers-march-on-washington/2011/07/30/gIQAz48zjI_story.html?wpisrc=emailtoafriend>
march in which the hypocrisy and disturbing effects of high-stakes testing
were front and center, it is as clear as ever that we must do something here
in New York to reverse the trend of continuing to raise the stakes on
standardized tests. Check out a video <
http://parentsacrossamerica.org/2011/07/matt-damons-speech-at-the-sos-march-that-made-teachers-cry/>
of Matt Damon's speech that crystallizes the damage created by the new
climate of high-stakes testing and even alludes to the possibility of
building a boycott.

At the first meeting of GEM's high-stakes testing committee we began the
process of democratically building a campaign to expose these tests for what
they are: unreliable, racist, resource-draining tools of the corporate
reformers that undermine good teaching and learning and are then used as
justification for closing schools, holding students back and firing
teachers. Something must be done, and one lesson learned from the march is
that there is a critical mass forming across the country of groups who are
trying to do something to expose high-stakes testing for what it is. In New
York the work that we do can be a model for the rest of the country, and for
that reason and many more you should join us and become a part of building
this campaign.

This next meeting will include a focused strategic planning session where we
will be finalizing our goals and developing a calendar for how to build
during the coming school year. We will then breakout into various
action-groups focused on a range of next-steps including literature
creation, building a boycott, community engagement and envisioning
alternatives to our current test-based education models. We hope you will
join us.

Sincerely,
The Grassroots Education Movement

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