Teachers at a second Chicago school have announced they will not administer the Illinois Standard Achievement Test to their students, according to the Chicago Teachers Union.
Teachers and parents at Thomas Drummond Montessori School in Bucktown announced Friday that they intend to boycott the ISAT, joining Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy.
“This second boycott is evidence that more and more educators continue to take a principled stand against harmful tests and in support of their parents and students,” CTU VP Jesse Sharkey said in a statement. “The CTU supports these teachers and calls on the district to stop making threats to parents and educators who are trying to restore some sanity to the education system.”
"I've seen students pull out their eyelashes over this test from anxiety and run out of the room," Saucedo Academy teacher Sarah Chambers said.
The test will be given to elementary school students for the last time next month, another reason the teachers don't want to administer it. Scores won't count for school ratings, advancement to the next grade, selective enrollment admission and teacher and principal evaluations.
Chicago parent group Parents-4-Teachers said in a statement Tuesday they support teachers who are refusing to administer the test because the teachers will waste two weeks of instruction time on a "worthless test."
Officials say although the No Child Left Behind law requires schools to administer the ISAT, students can choose not to take it.
According to the State Superintendent of Education Christopher Koch, districts and school are required to administer the ISAT under both federal and state law, and any school that does not comply with those requirements faces possible local and state disciplinary actions and runs the risk of reduced state and federal funds.
"In a letter Friday from State Superintendent of Education Christopher Cook and Illinois State Board of Education Chairman Gery Chico, state officials reaffirmed that the ISAT test is mandated by state and federal law and failure to comply puts government funding at risk, including Title I funds aimed to help children from low-income families,” said CPS spokesman Joel Hood. “The results of the ISAT also help parents and teachers across the state assess how well their students are meeting key benchmarks in core academic subjects and assists educators in tailoring instructional planning. Our children deserve every classroom resource and tool to ensure they graduate 100 percent college ready and 100 percent college bound."
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel also said Friday that teachers who don’t participate in the testing will be “walked out.”
Teachers say they know they know there will likely be repercussions for their actions, but they're willing to deal with them for their kids.