Photo from Empathy Educates
This week, a controversy at Chicago Public Schools has sparked an interesting debate that, at its heart, is about communities controlling their children’s education. The Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) is being administered in classrooms all over the city this week. Frustration arose after CPS made the decision to switch from the ISAT to another standardized test, the Northwest Evaluation Association’s Measures of Academic Progress (NWEA MAP) test, to determine promotions and eligibility for highly selective high schools.
Why administer ISAT then? The Tribune reports:
“The test is being administered only to fulfill a No Child Left Behind requirement, while more than half of states have sought waivers from such requirements,” AFT (American Federation of Teachers) President Randi Weingarten said in a news release.
“The test won’t inform instruction or assess student or teacher performance. It is not relevant to the current curriculum. It’s a meaningless hoop to jump through that benefits no one. So, why subject kids to it?”
Students are allowed to opt out, but some CPS parents are complaining that teachers and administrators have put undue pressure on them to take the test. 25 parents filed suit against CPS with the ACLU as a result. Teachers at two schools have voted to boycott the ISAT, refusing to administer it entirely.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments box below.
Chicago Tribune – a comprehensive look at the recent controversy. Includes video.
ABC7 Chicago – includes video
Chicago Now – a blog about Chicago Public Schools that opposes standardized testing