Taking a Stand on Standardized Testing (by Guest Blogger Maryann Burton)

It is absolutely time that we take a stand on the standardized testing for school assessment system. As students and administrators in Seattle rally together to put an end to evaluating schools and teachers based on tests that were not intended for this purpose. Portland Public Schools and the Student Unions are following the footsteps of the courageous Garfield High School in Seattle and asking that all high schools in Portland opt-out of taking the standardized test this year.

The tests are an expensive waste of money. They do nothing but put more strain and stress on students and faculties; the results of these state standardized tests are not even looked at by colleges and universities when applying for admissions! PPS and the Student Unions are pushing for change, and in true social justice fashion, they are raising awareness of the fact that it is the system of assessment that needs to be changed—not the teachers administering the assessments.

So let’s stand behind these individuals, let’s make ALL of our schools look like they are “in need of improvement” so that we can focus on improving our means of assessing how a school or teacher is performing. Let’s get back to a time when attention could be paid to the individual student’s needs and direct ourselves away from spending precious time and money on assessments not worth their weight in accuracy.

Note: Maryann Burton is a student in the Educational Equity Capstone at Portland State University.  This course is facilitated by Deb Smith-Arthur. Thank you for joining us, Maryann!


Join the Next Rally: Get Inspired by this Footage from the Recent UPSET Event in Portland!

In my last post, I described attending the recent UPSET rally for Portland Public Schools with my daughter Vera and feeling really inspired and reinvigorated for this work for social justice in education in Portland.

As I prepared for my Monday Capstone class at Portland State University, I was looking for footage of the rally to show my students, and I found the following photo/video diary from the Great Schools for America site.  While the power of a rally really is in the moment (the sound of voices, signs dotting the crowd, the amazing energy), this footage in photos and video really does capture some of the frustrations and power that are present in our community.  I only hope that this momentum will continue and that more community members will join together so that schools in Portland actually achieve the equity that so many of us dream of.

If you weren’t at the rally, check out the footage and decide to join us all for the next one!