By Jackson Potter
The Students at Social Justice High School called for an end to the testing craze on Monday, October 6.
Seniors at Social Justice High School in Chicago demanded a moratorium on high stakes tests because they diminish the quality of instruction, lower self-esteem, and place unnecessary restrictions on future opportunities: "Don't forget to mention the fact that these tests are biased against low income black and brown students," says Senior Jazmin Johnson.
Students are against these tests because they do not predict college performance or success, yet are used as a gate to allow or keep students out. Senior Viviana Ruiz says, "These tests are unfair measures of success, and the reason I will do well in college has nothing to do with the ACT."
The current administration believes that no child should be left behind, yet numerous young people will never get to share their voices and ideas with the world because gatekeeper tests reduced their options.
Proponents of standardized testing advocate that these tests keep districts, schools, and teachers accountable for their classroom teaching. Senior Amparo Ramos disagrees, "If you want to see the quality of my teachers and the quality of my education come and sit in my classes. These tests aren't only unfair by putting us through undue pressure and taking away valuable learning time, but they're unfair to our teachers. Instead of spending all this money on tests maybe they should give us better resources."
The students of Social Justice High School were joined by a neighborhood parents organization, teachers from an area Elementary School and members of the school community.
On the same day members of The Caucus of Rank and File Educators, a group within the Chicago Teachers' Union, released a petition for parents, students and teachers. The petition calls on the Chicago Board of Eduction to put a moratorium on all high stakes testing until an independently monitored series of forums can be held to evaluate their impact. CORE plans to use the petition drive as a means to encourage teachers to protest tests more vigorously when they are administered in the Spring.
ABOUT SOCIAL JUSTICE HIGH SCHOOL - The Little Village Lawndale High School is a reality because of the principles of social justice. Our belief in self-determination inspired a community to act on its convictions to affirm its right to a quality education. Through a system of support, guidance, and accountability our students will graduate high school, be prepared for college and implement a post secondary plan. Our students will cherish and preserve their ethnic and cultural identity, will serve and determine the future of our community, and will have a passion for peace, justice and the dignity of all people.