CHICAGO (CBS) — Teachers at a Little Village elementary school are joining a growing effort to boycott the upcoming Illinois Standards Achievement Test, saying students are over-tested, and the ISAT is no longer of any use to the children who take it.
“We’re taking a stand against over-testing. Our students take tests every single month, and we’re sick of seeing them stressed out,” said Sarah Chambers, a special education teacher at Saucedo Scholastic Academy, where teachers voted unanimously not to administer the test next week.
Teachers said the ISAT is no longer a factor in student promotion, graduation, or enrollment in selective-enrollment schools.
Next year, the ISAT will be replaced by two new standardized tests – one to determine promotion in grades three, six, and eight; the other for enrollment in selective-enrollment schools.
Chambers said 300 parents at Saucedo aren’t letting their kids take the ISAT next week.
The teachers could face discipline for refusing to administer the test.
“We are fully prepared for the repurcussions to come. We spoke about that before we voted, and we’re ready for it. We’re sick of seeing our students be abused this way with these tests,” Chambers said. “I’ve had students crying, students pull out their eyelashes, students run out of the school.”
She said students constantly take standardized tests which, many times, do not measure what the children have been taught.
CPS officials said the ISAT is required under the federal No Child Left Behind law.
The Chicago Teachers Union applauded the teachers and parents at Saucedo for their boycott.
“The Saucedo educators have taken a bold step in refusing to administer a test that is of no use to students and will be junked by the district next year,” said CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey. “Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett has already said the ISAT will not be used for selective enrollment, and therefore this serves no purpose other than to give students another standardized test. We know that parents all over the city are opting their children out of this unnecessary test, and we commend them for doing what is in the best interests of their children.”
The union said it believes the teachers and parents at Saucedo could inspire others at CPS to boycott the ISAT next week.