Richard A. Fowler
CLEVELAND—AFT President Randi Weingarten and Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper released the following statement on the recently released Ohio Department of Education 2017 school district rankings. These rankings—based solely on standardized testing—come on the heels of a nationwide parent poll that shows public school parents have major concerns with excessive standardized testing of their children.
“The educators of Ohio perform magic every day in their classrooms and in their school buildings. Sadly, these shortsighted rankings only measure one day, the day the standardized test was given. Standardized tests should be utilized as tools to inform instruction, measure student achievement and determine which schools need more resources. Rankings demonize hardworking educators and demoralize working families and poverty-stricken communities. Throughout the country, the fixation with testing has opened the floodgates to massive school closures, privatization schemes and attempts to dismantle public education as we know it.
"Not surprisingly, two recent polls—the AFT's nationwide parent poll and the Phi Delta Kappa poll of the public's attitudes toward public schools—found standardized tests to be unsatisfactory and an insufficient way to measure school quality. In the AFT's poll, public school parents worried that a lack of inadequate funding, too many standardized tests and large class sizes put their children's education in jeopardy.
"That is why we are so committed to working with parents and the community, in Ohio and throughout the country, to ensure that they have a voice in the decision-making process in their local school districts. Now more than ever, we should be laser-focused on providing every student access to a safe, welcoming neighborhood public school that helps children thrive. That happens not by testing, but with project-based learning, well-prepared educators, well-resourced classrooms and wraparound services to meet children's social and emotional needs."