Jeff Abbott, Waging NonViolence
As the 2014 academic year nears an end, teachers from an increasing number of public schools across the United States, Canada and Mexico are reflecting on teaching at least one unconventional lesson to their students and their neighborhoods this past year: How to resist standardized tests.
On May Day in New York City, for example, teachers of the International High School at Prospect Heights in New York City announced that they would be refusing to administer the New York City English Language Arts Performance Assessment Exam. In Seattle, teachers at Garfield High School also refused to administer the district test this year — much to the delight of some teachers in Florida, who ordered the delivery of a solidarity pizza to the high school. Meanwhile, as far north as Saskatchewan and as far south as southern Mexico, teachers across North America all did exactly the same thing.
This year’s resistance to standardized testing has rejuvenated teachers’ unions and built bridges between the classroom and the broader community that have eluded the educators and labor for decades. This emerging refusal to administer tests has also created bridges between teachers across international borders — a response, in large part, to the globalization of standardized testing and private testing companies.
“These are common elements in all our countries,” said Miriam Sanchez, a teacher in Mexico and member of the dissident union the Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación, better known as the CNTE.
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