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.