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The following resolution was adopted by the CTU House of Delegates at its May 4, 2022 meeting.

WHEREAS from 2005-2015 alone, Illinois spent over $315 million on high-stakes standardized testing, and in response, school districts directed millions of local dollars and a countless number of instructional hours toward “benchmark” or “interim” tests and mandated test-prep activities, yet the information provided by these high-stakes tests has been misused, thus making them ineffectual in providing real and meaningful guidance to teachers, students and families (Zavitkovsky, Roarty and Swanson 2016), and

WHEREAS high-stakes standardized tests have been used for over two decades to blame, shame and penalize schools, teachers, and students, in particular, students of color, and

WHEREAS test prep has drained instructional time, student and teacher energy, and school funds from schools already underfunded and under-resourced, while also narrowing school curricula, stripping away teacher autonomy, eroding the love of teaching and learning, and fostering hostile, antagonistic school climates, particularly in schools serving Black and Brown students and students from lower-income families (National Center for Fair and Open Testing, Koretz 2017, Nelson 2013), and

WHEREAS students in Special Education are already subjected to additional progress monitoring and testing which takes away from valuable learning time, and

WHEREAS students who are English Learners are forced to take standardized tests only in English regardless of their level of English proficiency, in addition to the Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State for English Language Learners (ACCESS) testing, and

WHEREAS systemic inequities in public education have widened educational opportunity gaps, since students from disadvantaged groups are more likely to attend schools with far less funding and course-work offerings; experience significantly higher instructional hours devoted to test prep; and face increased threat of restructuring and/or closure and high teacher/principal turnover (Journey for Justice Alliance Failing Brown v. Board 2017), and

WHEREAS vendors and education “reform” groups not representing practitioners have successfully pushed policies and products that attempt to “teacher-proof” public education by promoting and expanding large-scale standardized testing tied to narrow curriculum pacing guides over teachers’ professional knowledge, skills and experience to design, deliver and reflect on culturally responsive curriculum, instruction and assessment, and

WHEREAS extensive research demonstrates that standardized testing has not escaped its shameful beginning of “intelligence tests” for military fitness, which were designed to confirm beliefs of eugenics and racism (Meier and Gasoi 2017), and

WHEREAS colleges and universities are moving away from using ACT or SAT scores as admission criteria because they are not a predictor of college success, are cost-prohibitive for low-income students, and are culturally biased, thus limiting the opportunities for students of color to pursue higher education, and

WHEREAS our Union opposes the ways state and federal policy-makers have misused standardized test data to shame, blame and close schools attended by some of Illinois’ most vulnerable students and to fire teachers in ways that disparately impact teachers of color, especially Black teachers, and

WHEREAS the Illinois State Board of Education is proposing a new state testing program that increases state mandated, high-stakes standardized testing for grades 3-8 students from one end-of-year administration to multiple test administrations across the school year and expands interim standardized testing to grades K-2 at an additional cost of over $227 million over the next ten years, which will only exacerbate and further embed testing throughout the school year, therefore be it

RESOLVED the CTU promotes state legislation requiring local education agencies to seek community input before increasing spending on standardized testing and putting limits on the state’s ability to require additional testing beyond federal minimums; and

RESOLVED the CTU makes available to members union-developed, sustained, job-embedded professional learning on culturally responsive assessment practices that support high-quality instructional practices, providing classroom-based, day-to-day learning feedback to students and educators; and

RESOLVED the CTU advocates for reprioritizing budgeting of state funds away from standardized testing to statewide professional learning and cross training that supports a paradigm shift, which views students as humans and not data points; and

RESOLVED the CTU provides guidance and resources to members outlining how America’s racist culture has created historic, systemic inequalities in public education which most directly impact Black and Brown students, families, and educators, but harm white students, families, and educators as well; and be it finally

RESOLVED the CTU organizes opposition to the new state testing regime passed by ISBE and advocate for minimal testing at the state level.

SOURCES OF INFORMATION:

Shepard et al. Classroom Assessment Principles to Support Teaching and Learning (Feb. 2020). Retrieved 31 Aug. 2021 from colorado.edu

Fleischer et al. NCTE Position Statement: Formative Assessment that Truly Informs Instruction, p. 2 (Oct. 2013). Retrieved 31 Aug. 2021 from ncte.org

Weinstein. Diminishing Credit: How Colleges and Universities Restrict the Use of Advanced Placement (Sept. 2016). Retrieved 21 Sept. 2021 from progressivepolicy.org

National Center for Fair and Open Testing (2021). Retrieved 31 Aug. 2021 from fairtest.org

Shanker Institute. The State of Teacher Diversity in American Education (Sept. 2015) Retrieved 21 Sept. 2021 from eric.ed.gov