Chicago public school educators and activists rallied Monday afternoon to support teachers who have refused to administer the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) and parents who have opted their students out of the exam.
Toting signs reading “More teaching, less testing” and “Stop bullying parents and students”, the group urged district officials to not retaliate against any parents, students or teachers who have decided to opt out of the ISAT, which began last week and runs through Friday. The protest was held outside the Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) Network 7 office, which is in charge of schools in Pilsen and Little Village.
Educators at two schools, Thomas Drummond Elementary School and Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy, are boycotting the ISAT, despite a stern letter from CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett stating that teachers who refuse to give the test could lose their education certification.
Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) organizer Noreen Gutekanst said district officials have also threatened teachers who boycott the ISAT with disciplinary actions “up to and including termination. “
“The teachers who took this position, and the parents who took this position are doing this because they want to teach,” Gutekanst stressed. “The mayor said he wanted to have a longer instructional day, and he wanted to have more learning time, and these teachers are saying, ‘let us teach. We don’t want testing all the time.’ So which way does he want to have it? Does he want to fire all these folks because they want to teach?”