Local parents fight tests

Staff Writer

Parent and teacher groups citywide are petitioning against the number of standardized tests being given to Chicago Public School (CPS) students this year.

The “More Than a Score Coalition,” which includes the Chicago Teachers Union, Parents 4 Teachers, Parents United for Responsible Education and Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education, drafted petitions asking CPS to limit standardized testing and provide more transparency about the cost, amount and stakes of the 22 tests now being used in public schools.

The campaign began in early February with parents going to more than 30 schools across the city, including Ray Elementary School, 5631 S. Kimbark Ave.; Canter Middle School, 4959 S. Blackstone Ave., and Kenwood High School, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., during morning drop-off and afternoon dismissal and collecting hundreds of signatures to limit excessive standardized testing of students in Chicago Public Schools (CPS). An online petition was soon added and as of Herald press time has collected about 2,886 signatures.

According to the petition, parents are concerned about the harmful impact of standardized testing on the education of low-income students, children of color, English-language learners, and special education students. The group believes that students, teachers, and schools should be assessed using multiple methods to capture a full picture of learning process and outcomes.

In the petition the More Than a Score coalition is calling on CPS to:

  • Eliminate standardized testing for children from preschool to 2nd grade and greatly reduce it for 3rd grade and above.
  • End the use of standardized testing data to evaluate students and educators and to close schools.
  • Fully disclose the cost, schedule, nature, and purpose of all standardized tests.

The petition drive will continue into the spring, when the signatures will be presented to CPS and the Board of Education.