Kate Childs Graham
WASHINGTON—Statement from American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the testing announcement from the Council of Chief State School Officers and the Council of the Great City Schools.
"The tide on testing is turning. That's why we see state school officers and city superintendents wading in and acknowledging the damage done by overtesting. It's great that they see the need to limit test redundancies, improve test quality, curtail test preparation, and focus assessments on informing instruction. Teachers and their unions want to work with states and districts to make this a reality.
"But this effort addresses the symptoms, not the root cause, of test fixation. Unless I'm missing something, it doesn't touch No Child Left Behind's highly consequential testing for every child, every year. Even the Gates Foundation went further by calling for a two-year moratorium on high-stakes consequences for tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards.
"Ultimately, we must address the root cause of the fixation on testing. We need to take on the high-stakes consequences of the tests themselves. It's unconscionable that everything about our schools, our kids and our teachers is reduced to one math and one English high-stakes standardized test per year. That's what we need to change. And that's where we need the administration to step up. Without leadership from this administration, which can encourage states to make changes like sampling and grade-span testing, the hands of states and districts remain tied to these high-stakes standardized tests."
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The AFT represents 1.6 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.