JUST SAY NO – To High-Stakes Testing!
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• The following statement can be attributed to Oklahoma PTA President Jeffery Corbett.
This July, Oklahoma PTA passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on policies that force Oklahoma’s public schools to rely on high-stakes testing. There is no convincing evidence that the pressure associated with high-stakes testing leads to any important benefits to student achievement. The resolution also speaks against teacher evaluation systems that rely on extensive standardized testing.
Oklahoma PTA is encouraging its members to stand in solidarity with teachers, like Tulsa elementary teachers Nikki Jones and Karen Hendren, who pledge not to continue with the Measures of Academic Progress, or MAP tests, and Tripod student surveys for teacher evaluations.
Oklahoma PTA’s Resolution on Assessment and Accountability came as a direct response to parent frustration related to the overuse and abuse of high-stakes standardized tests. Recently, the Oklahoma Education Association (OEA) unanimously adopted the PTA resolution. Joining together, representatives from individual PTA units and OEA are taking the resolution before their local school board and asking them to adopt the resolution as well.
It is time for the reign of high-stakes standardized tests, as a dominant force in public education, to end. It is time to return the focus to creative, individualized education; to do that, we must turn our classrooms back over to our teachers.
Our public schools are not failing, we are failing our schools. Oklahoma spends millions of dollars, annually, on high-stakes testing. Instead of lining the pockets of the testing companies, we should be investing in Oklahoma’s future by building an education system that is unparalleled in its quality and successful outcomes for the students it serves. That system needs to include employing more teachers—and providing our educators with sustainable wages.
We must follow the example set by these two teachers and use our voice to make a difference in the education of Oklahoma’s students. It will take all of us—PTA members, teachers, administrators—all Oklahomans concerned with our state’s future—to raise our collective voice and make certain our legislators know we expect them to make positive changes in education by removing the oppressive burden of high-stakes testing.
Let your teachers know you support them! Let your school administrators know you will be speaking out—and ask them to keep you informed about issues. Come together as a community. Join PTA or your local parent group and get active. In unity we will find the strength needed to truly reform education in Oklahoma and build a brighter future. It is not too late. Act now!
Join the social media campaign! Download the #JustSayNO sign and post your photo or upload the sign to your Facebook or Twitter!