Sunday, April 6, 2014

Accolades for 3 Teachers Test Refuseniks

If Unity Caucus could have booed Jia Lee, one of MORE's candidates at the NYSUT RA this past weekend, they would have. But Jia had ceded her time to Laura Cohen, who was booed by the Unity 800 (UFT-Unity Caucus Demonstrates How It Handles Dissent).

Valerie Strauss reports on Jia and colleagues' remarkable letter of conscience to Carmen Farina.
Three teachers from P.S. 364 Earth School in New York have informed their administration and Chancellor Carmen FariƱa that they will not proctor Common Core state standardized tests this year — or ever — saying in a letter (see below) that they “can no longer implement policies that seek to transform the broad promises of public education into a narrow obsession with the ranking and sorting of children.” They join a small but growing number of educators who are taking a strong stand against high-stakes testing, in Seattle last year, Chicago this year and in other places. The three teachers — Colin Schumacher, Emmy Matias and Jia Lee — are part of a group called Teachers of Conscience, who have issued a position paper (which you can see below). The three have the outspoken support of their principal, Alison Hazut, and of parents opting out their children from the tests (and more than half of the families at P.S. 364 are doing so). Hazut has assigned these teachers to work with students who are opting out on independent writing, math, reading, and art projects during the tests. Contrast that with the “sit and stare” policies some other principals have enacted, which essentially force kids who are opting out to sit in their chairs during the test administration and do nothing but look around......
And more accolades for Jia from fellow Change the Stakes and MOREistas.
This could be a game-changing turning point for the movement! My deepest thanks, Jia, for all you do. You're an amazing woman, teacher, mother, leader!... Nancy Cauthen, Change the Stakes

Jia, Together this letter and position paper are not just brilliant and definitive. For me they constitute the best single piece of news I've seen in the two years Anne and I have been involved in this movement. Now that parents are opting out in significant numbers, the next step is for teachers to "come out" and speak truth to power. You are in the absolute vanguard of that movement, and together parents and teachers will bring the "ed deform" to a halt and begin truly restoring public education in this country. Bravissima!!!!!!!! And THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!
.... Jeff Nichols

Jia, Emmy and Colin,
This is spectacular and you are very brave to do this!.. Jane

Jia is the best parent, teacher, union leader! I stand with her any day every day.. Mike Schirtzer

Jia, Emmy, Colin--you have taken us to a new level.  Your letter belongs in the Smithsonian.... Fred

Excellent letter Jia, you really are exceptional! .... Diana

This is historic and courageous of the three of you. Also kudos to your principal who is giving support,  and to the brave parents and students who are taking a stand against for forfeit  assessment/education. Your letter should be in every major publication across the nation....Pat

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