Declaration of Independence from High Stakes Testing
The Declaration of Independence of Students, Parents, Teachers, Educators
The Unanimous Declaration of all those affected by High-Stakes Testing
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any law of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new laws, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that laws established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute educational malfeasance , it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such laws, and to provide new Guards for their future security. —Such has been the patient sufferance of these students, parents, teachers and educators; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Obedience. The history of the present governmental supporters of High-Stakes Testing is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over all those affected by our educational system. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
- Government has refused to validate multiple imbedded assessment strategies for students, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
- Government has prevented educators from passing laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless they pretend to employ quantifiable measurements.
- The Government has taken a stance of mean spirited accountability which uses coercive measures--incentives and sanctions--to ensure that educators teach and students master specific content, namely by:
-Forcing upon schools arbitrary rating and scoring standards developed by politicians and business co-operatives rather than parents and professional educators.
-Not establishing accountability for standards of accountability. So, schools are being held accountable to standards that themselves meet no standard of accountability. The standards in the law are arbitrary and punitive.
-Penalizing schools with children from diverse backgrounds. Schools with children of both lower socioeconomic status and second language learners will be at a disadvantage in almost any rigid standard of accountability.
-Penalizing schools with children having diverse learning skills. Schools having many children with learning disabilities or other diverse learning needs.-Encouraging schools to promote dropping out. In this way, those students’ test scores will not reduce scores for the school. Student dropouts among low scorers actually have been increasing, arguably as a direct result of the legislation. -Operating on the assumption that what matters are factoids that students should know rather than having to explain how they use it. As a result, the emphasis in schools regresses to that of the drill-and-kill education instead of meaningful understanding and use of the knowledge students learn.
-Creating a system where children, more and more, are being deprived of learning in art, music, history and social sciences, physical education, special programs for the gifted, and the like. In general, anything that might enrich children’s education in a way that would make the children knowledgeable as well as wise and ready to make complex decisions in today’s complex world is largely gone. -Specifying that educational practice be guided by good, rigorous science without adhering to the tenets of real scientific investigation. The results of their definition of rigorous educational research does not meet the criteria of validity and reproducibility as standardization is impossible.-Turning our schools into test-preparation centers.
-Deluding students and parents into believing that classroom instruction that is focused on test score results is preparing them for the real world.-Dividing rather than unifying the world of education. Forcing upon students and their schools standards dreamed up by politicians never has been, and never will be, the right way to create the best education for our children.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A law whose character is thus marked by every act which may define as tyrannical, is unfit to be the guide of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our politician brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our teaching and learning here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity.
We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Parents, Students, Teachers and Educators of the United States of America, in General Agreement, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of America , solemnly publish and declare, That WE are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent of these Laws; that WE are Absolved from all Allegiance to These Laws, and that all political connection between them and the US, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent Citizens, WE have full Power to ignore those elements of the law which operate under coercion and threat, use educational strategies which are not in the best interest of our students and to the detriment of our country which Independent Citizens may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
The signers of this Declaration of Independence from High-Stakes Testing are as follows:
( Feel free to sign just for yourself, to give to school/district officials, join with others to distribute)