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1 - The Opt-Out Movement: Promoting Democratic Schooling Through the Voice of Teachers, Parents, and Students

Fri, April 5, 12:00 to 2:00pm, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Floor: 100 Level, Room 104B

Session Type: Invited Speaker Session

Abstract

Over the last several decades, students in New York State have been subject to an increasing number of tests that are ostensibly intended to hold students, teachers, and schools accountable. However, the tests have had deleterious results as the tests scores have been manipulated to portray two of every three students statewide as failing and urban schools as disasters. Proponents of privatization, including charter school investors and administrators, politicians from both major political parties, and philanthro-capitalists such as Bill Gates have used the test scores to call for even more charter schools, standardized tests, and corporate approaches to school reform. But such approaches have not been incorporated into education without resistance from parents, teachers, and students who question the focus on collecting so-called objective data and the subsequent narrowing of the curriculum. In this presidential session we show how parents, educators, and the community have collaboratively pushed back against high-stakes testing through the founding of local, regional, and statewide groups such as the New York State Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE), Long Island Opt Out (LIOO), and the Rochester Coalition for Public Education (RCPE). We will show fifteen minutes from a 40-minute video focused on parent resistance to high-stakes testing and corporate reforms titled “Opting Out: The Parent-Led Movement to Resist the Common Core Exams,” and then turn to describing the research and activism of the other participants, including a book in which the two parent activists are co-authors.

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