Jesse Hagopian’s Testimony On Testing: Educators provide first-hand account to the Congressional Black Caucus of how destructive ed reforms hurt students
Photo: Seattle educator Jesse Hagopian at CBC Foundation 43rd Annual Legislative Conference
by Brian Washington
Jesse Hagopian spent the first three years of his teaching career in the District of Columbia—working with fifth-graders at an elementary school in the Southeast. He recently returned to the nation’s capital to, once again, put his knowledge as an educator to good use—this time giving members of the Congressional Black Caucus, and those attending its Annual Legislative Conference, a lesson about the impact of destructive education reform policies—like high-stakes testing—on children.
“There is a study that just came out that shows high-stakes testing is leading to higher incarceration rates,” said Hagopian, who now teaches World History and American Government at a high school in Seattle, Wash. “Policy makers are just pushing it more and more, and it’s having a destructive impact on our students.”
Hagopian, who recently joined forces with students, parents and other educators in Seattle to take a stand against harmful standardized tests, was one of the featured panelists in a discussion examining the negative impact of the tests and parent trigger laws and how school community partnerships can positively impact learning. ….
The momentum of the national movement for authentic assessment shows no signs of abating. Already this year, teachers in St. Paul, MN have attempted to buck state law in defense of quality assessment by attempting to bargain a contract that does not include standardized testing as part of evaluations. Teachers in California just helped get legislation through the State Congress that puts a moratorium on the testing for the year. A new PDK/Gallup educational survey shows Americans are fed up with high-stakes testing: Only 22% of Americans–less than one in four–believe increased testing has helped the performance of local public schools and 58% reject using student test scores to evaluate teachers.
In an effort to extend last year’s “education spring” into a full-blown democratic revolution in education, Jesse Hagopian is hitting the road this fall to speak to parents, students, teachers, and community members about a vision for education that is about empowering our youth to solve the problems in our society and using authentic forms of assessment to nurture that kind of learning.
You can contact Jesse here to inquire about brining him to your community.
|Washington, D.C.||September 19th, 2013||United States Congress: Congressional Black Caucus hearing.||Jesse Hagopian testifies to the Congressional Black Caucus on the impact of high stakes testing and school closures on education|
|Washington, D.C.||September 21th, 2013||Bammy Awards||The Academy of Education Arts and Sciences holds an annual award ceremony for teachers, “The Bammy Awards.” Jesse Hagopian is one of five nominees nationally who is being considered for the honor of “secondary teacher of the year.”|
|Los Angeles, CA||October 4th, 2013||PEAC Conference||TBD|
|Los Angeles, CA||October 4th-6th||Reclaiming the Promise of Public Schools: Community and Labor Organizing Together for Educational and Social Justice.||The NEA Department of Minority Community Organizing is joining with the AFT on this upcoming conference|
|Maui, HI||October, 17th||2013 Teacher Institute||Hawaii Sate Teachers Association is holding its annual conference with the theme, “Leading the Way.”|
|Seattle, WA||October, 19th||Northwest Teaching for Social Justice Conference||Rethinking Schools holds this annual conference with hundreds of educations from around the region. Jesse will join a panel of Garfield teachers and students to discuss, “Scrap The MAP: How to boycott a standardized test.”|
|Louisville, KA||December, 6th||Unity Conference||This annual social justice conference is sponsored by the Kentucky Alliance civil rights organization.|
|Orlando, FL||Jan., 2014||NEA||TBD|
I have been invited to Washington, D.C. to testify before the Congressional Black Caucus of the United States Congress about how the high-stakes standardized testing craze is eroding public education, fueling the school-to-prison-pipeline, and being used to label schools as failures and close them down–particularly schools that serve African American students.
In addition to my work in organizing the MAP test boycott at Garfield High School, I also helped lead a coalition in opposition of the school closures in Seattle in 2008 when five schools were closed that were all predominantly serving students of color. Today, our opposition to those closures has been vindicated as the district is reopening many of them because of over capacity (as we said would happen) and the Department of Education is investigating the Seattle School District over claims of racial bias in the school closures. I deliver my testimony today and I will do my best to represent to the U.S. Congress our growing movement of educators, students, and parents who want to support our schools, not close them down, and who favor authentic assessments beyond standardized tests. Wish me luck!
The Village Is Burning!
How School Closings Affect African-American Children and Communities
A discussion sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association
Thursday, Sept. 19
1:30 p.m.–3 p.m.
What do the school systems in Chicago, Kansas City,
New York City and Philadelphia have in common?
They all have closed large numbers of public schools,
almost all of which have been in African-American
and Latino neighborhoods.
This session will examine the real impact of school
closings on students and their communities, and how
community-classroom partnerships can positively affect public education. We will also
take a look at so-called parent-trigger laws, high-stakes standardized testing and the
debate about the future of public education.
This enlightening, engaging and possibly provocative conversation will provide insights
and tools to inspire activism among students, educators, parents and community
members that will help guarantee every student access to a great public education.
Join us for this important discussion.
To Test or Not to Test: Standardized Testing in Our Public Schools.
Tuesday evening, September 17
The discussion happens upstairs in the Great Hall beginning at 7:30 p.m.
The panelists include:
As a new school year begins, let me be the first to wish you parents, students, and teachers a year full of intellectual curiosity, problem solving, empowerment, and struggle to make education about more than the ability to eliminate wrong answer choices and shade the box corresponding to the single best answer choice.
As a history teacher I am excited for this year as we are poised to see the largest rebellion against standardized testing this nation has ever experienced. With the new Common Core State Standards coming on-line in many school districts across the country, many of the current exams that are being used are not aligned to the standards being taught in the classroom–which will only serve to fuel an already growing resistance to high stakes standardized testing.
“While his eighth-grade classmates took state standardized tests this spring, Tucker Richardson woke up late and played basketball in his Delaware Township driveway…”
Here’s to building a mass civil rights movement to defend public education! Boycott, Opt-Out, Walkout!