Excessive testing is taking the life out of education, according to a
group of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students who
dressed like zombies and marched from the district’s headquarters in
Chicago to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office at city hall Friday evening.
Calling themselves “the learning dead,” the students, organized by the Chicago Student Union (CSO), protested the “death of Chicago’s public education system.”
proponents of standardized testing say it helps to close the
achievement gap, roughly a dozen students claimed on Friday that
high-stakes testing takes up valuable instruction time and negatively
impacts student learning.
“I love to learn, but because
education officials put so much emphasis on standardized testing — they
use it to measure school success, measure teacher success, measure
student success — teachers are forced to teach to the test and that really
limits what we can do in the classroom,” said Charlie Murphy, 16, a
junior at Lane Technical College Prep High School and member of the CSO.
Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, students and other
advocates for educational justice blasted high-stakes student testing at
a community forum last night, calling it yet another battle in the war
on public education.
Proponents of standardized testing say it
helps to close the achievement gap, but Lewis said the objective is “to
rank and sort.”
“What do these tests do?” Lewis asked the crowd at
Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church. “They answer one simple thing.
Who are the winners and the losers ... but who made the rules to the
“The winners are telling the losers these tests will tell
you what you really know. These tests will tell you the value that a
teacher adds to your child. These winners are telling the losers that if
you don’t do well on these tests, you have no future.”