Disenchantment with education policies is not limited to Chicago. At the same time protestors filled the streets of that city, signs of discontent were evident in Newark, Philadelphia, and Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Neither is the discontent limited to communities of the urban poor and people of color. A recent news report filed by an outlet covering the towns and cities of Western New York state put a completely different face to the resistance – mostly white, middle-class parents.
The reporter, Rachel Kingston, spotlighted the growing movement among parents to boycott standardized tests. She wrote, “Hundreds in school districts across Western New York – from Williamsville to West Seneca to Frontier – refused to have their children take the exams this April, in what’s becoming known as the opt-out movement.” The parents “worry their children are being deprived of a well-rounded education, and suffering both academically and emotionally because of it.”
But similar to the school closings in Chicago and elsewhere, what’s also driving concerns is that education policies are risky experiments with little prospect for success.
“It’s almost like the system is setting teachers up to fail, and setting students up to fail,” one parent stated.
“The assessments include field test questions which are sometimes above-grade-level – material the students being tested haven’t even learned yet,” Kingston reported. “Students don’t get their tests back once they’ve been scored. Their teachers don’t get to grade the tests. And parents never see the test booklet with the actual questions – only a score sheet with a number ranging from 1 to 4.”