Grassroots Organizing Synthesis
There is a lot of activity around grassroots organizing to reform high-stakes standardized testing. Most of the organizations discussed below begin their work by involving parents and empowering them to have a voice in their child’s education. Most of these organizations start this process by providing parents with information so that they can then make educated decisions about what makes the most sense for their children. These organizations clearly work with an agenda. They are all transparent about their work and provide parents with resources to make independent decisions. The step that these organizations encourage parents to take most often is to consider opting out of standardized testing for their children. The organizations inform the parents of their legal right to do this and give specific instructions on how to proceed after making the decision to opt out. These organizations recognize that standardized testing is hurting the educational experiences of children in Chicago schools and across the country and do most of their work by supporting teachers, parents, and children–the communities most effected by this issue to move forward, working towards change.
- More Than a Score is an organization made up of parents, students, teachers, and community members who believe that the amount of time, energy, and money invested in testing in CPS is detrimental.
- Raise your Hand for Illinois Public Education is a group of parents and community members who fight for high quality public schools. They believe money spend on testing should be going towards improving the quality of a child’s actual education.
- Parents 4 Teachers is an organization in that fights for quality education for students across Chicago. They focus on connecting with teachers to build solidarity, supporting teacher unions, and combatting racist school policies, including high-stakes standardized testing.
- PURE is an organization that works to support quality education by informing parents about issues that effect their children in schools, empowering parents to advocate for their children, involving parents in decision making, and helping them negotiate with their school system. They educate parents about opting out of standardized testing and provide testing resistance resources.
- NYS Allies for Public Education is a group made up of parents, educators, and community members fighting for a better public education. They believe that excessive testing is negatively impacting students in New York public schools.
- Change the stakes is an organization made up of New York City parents and teachers who believe that high-stakes testing harms the educational experiences of students. They encourage families to opt out of standardized testing to push for change.
- United 4 Kids is an organization in Colorado that is made up of parents, teachers, and activists who are working towards a more holistic and equitable educational experience for students. They believe in respecting the rights of communities and enabling community members to build the schools they want for their kids. One way they do this is educating and organizing parents around opting out of standardized testing.
- TAG Philadelphia is a group of educators that works in a number of ways to improve the quality of education for all students. One of their major platform points is replacing high-stakes standardized testing with high-quality comprehensive assessments that are a component of student centered curriculums.