Resolution: Opposition to New State Testing Regime

The following resolution was passed by the CTU House of Delegates at its meeting on May 4, 2022.

WHILE From 2005 to 2015 alone, Illinois spent more than $315 million on standardized high-stakes testing, and in response, school districts directed millions of local dollars and countless instructional hours toward “benchmark” or “provisional” tests and mandatory test preparation. activities, but the information provided by these high-stakes tests has been misused, rendering them ineffective in providing real and meaningful guidance to teachers, students, and families (Zavitkovsky, Roarty, and Swanson 2016), and

WHILE standardized high-stakes tests have been used for more than two decades to blame, humiliate, and penalize schools, teachers, and students, especially students of color, and

WHILE test prep drained instructional time, student and teacher energy, and school funds from already underfunded and underfunded schools, while cutting curricula, removing teacher autonomy, eroding the love of teaching and learning and fostering hostile and adversarial school climates, especially in schools with black and brown students and students from low-income families (National Center for Fair and Open Testing, Koretz 2017, Nelson 2013), and

WHILE special education students are already subject to additional monitoring and progress testing, taking away valuable learning time, and

WHILE students who are English language learners are required to take standardized tests in English only, regardless of their level of English proficiency, in addition to the State-English Comprehension and Communication Assessment Test to-State for English Language Learners (ACCESS), and

WHILE systemic inequalities in public education have widened educational opportunity gaps, as students from disadvantaged groups are more likely to attend schools with significantly less funding and course offerings; experience more teaching hours devoted to test preparation; and face an increased threat of restructuring and/or closure and high teacher/principal turnover (Journey for Justice Alliance Failure of Brown v. Commission 2017), and

WHILE vendors and education “reform” groups that do not represent practitioners have successfully pushed policies and products that attempt to “protect teachers” from public education by promoting and expanding standardized testing to large-scale linked to narrow curriculum pacing guides on teachers’ professional knowledge, skills, and experience designing, implementing, and reflecting on culturally appropriate curricula, instruction, and assessment, and

WHILE extensive research demonstrates that standardized tests have not escaped their shameful start as “intelligence tests” for military aptitude, which were designed to confirm eugenic and racist beliefs (Meier and Gasoi 2017), and

WHILE colleges and universities are moving away from using ACT or SAT scores as admission criteria because they are not a predictor of academic success, are prohibitively expensive for low-income students, and are culturally biased , thereby limiting opportunities for students of color to pursue higher education, and

WHILE our union opposes how state and federal policymakers have misused standardized testing data to shame, blame and shut down schools attended by some of Illinois’ most vulnerable students and to fire teachers in a way that disparately impacts teachers of color, especially black teachers, and

WHILE the Illinois State Board of Education is proposing a new state testing program that increases standardized high-stakes, state-mandated tests for students in grades 3 through 8 by a end-of-year administration to multiple test administrations throughout the school year and expands interim standardized testing to K-2 grades at an additional cost of more than $227 million over the next ten years, which will only exacerbate and further integrate testing throughout the school year, so let it be

RESOLVED CTU is promoting state legislation requiring local education agencies to seek community input before increasing spending on standardized testing and limiting the state’s ability to require additional testing beyond federal minimums; and

RESOLVED CTU makes available to members union-developed, supported, and job-embedded professional learning on culturally appropriate assessment practices that support high-quality instructional practices, providing students and educators with feedback on daily classroom learning; and

RESOLVED CTU advocates for reprioritizing budgeting of state funds from standardized testing to statewide professional learning and cross-training that supports a paradigm shift, which views students as humans and not as data points; and

RESOLVED CTU provides advice and resources to members describing how America’s racist culture has created historic systemic inequalities in public education that most directly affect Black and Brown students, families, and educators, but also harm students, to white families and educators; and let it be finally

RESOLVED CTU is organizing opposition to the new state testing regime passed by the ISBE and advocating for minimum testing at the state level.

SOURCE OF INFORMATION:

Shepard et al. Principles of classroom assessment to support teaching and learning (February 2020). Retrieved August 31, 2021, from colorado.edu

Fleischer et al. NCTE Position Statement: Formative Assessment that Really Informed instruction, p. 2 (October 2013). Retrieved August 31, 2021, from ncte.org

Weinstein. Diminishing Credit: How Colleges and Universities Limit the Use of Advanced Placement (September 2016). Retrieved September 21, 2021, from progressivepolicy.org

National Center for Fair and Open Testing (2021). Retrieved August 31, 2021, from fairtest.org

Shanker Institute. The State of Teacher Diversity in American Education (September 2015) Retrieved September 21, 2021, from eric.ed.gov

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