Posts tagged "boycott"
April 17, 2013
Across the state, and in some New York City schools, pockets of students and parents are “opting out” of this month’s reading and math tests to protest the tests’ increasing stakes. In some school districts where officials openly shared the criticism, the tally of dissenters could be significant, according to early reports.
But while the opt-out movement has gotten renewed attention in the last two years, since the state began preparing for tougher new tests, it isn’t new. In 2001, at a time when state testing was confined to a few grades and was not used to assess students or teachers, two thirds of eighth-graders at Scarsdale Middle School in Westchester County refused to take the exams. Parents, educators, and local school officials had encouraged the boycott.
The New York Times reported at the time that the protest was logistically complex:
This was the first of several days of eighth-grade tests that parents had vowed to boycott in protest of what they see as a test prep culture and the lock-step instruction it engenders. … (more…)
April 30, 2012
Hundreds of angry educators from across the country seem to have taught the clothing retailer Kenneth Cole a lesson about diction—and union politics.
Late last week we broke the news about a company billboard that invoked a loaded education policy issue using a slogan many teachers viewed as an attack on their profession.
This weekend teachers and advocates responded, in a flurry of posts on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, and a petition 600 signatures strong, calling for a boycott of Cole’s clothing company. Even national union leader Randi Weingarten waded into the fray with Twitter posts criticizing the company, which is headed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s brother-in-law.
The company has now responded. This afternoon, Kenneth Cole Productions used Twitter to send a public message to the creator of the petition, a D.C. teacher-turned-activist, Sabrina Stevens Shupe, that it plans to remove the billboard.
“We misrepresented the issue – one too complex for a billboard – and are taking it down,” the company posted from its Twitter account, @KennethCole.
This weekend, the company posted a different Twitter message clarifying that the ad campaign’s “Intent is to stimulate debate, not pit teachers against students.” The message now appears to have been deleted. The company has not responded to a request for comment today. (more…)
April 16, 2012
At least a handful of the students who are supposed to sit down Tuesday morning for the first day of state testing already know that they will be absent.
That’s because a small number of parents are boycotting this year’s state tests, choosing to keep their children home or away from class out of protest against the tests’ growing importance.
Test scores have long been used to judge students’ readiness for the next grade. And for the last several years, the city has rated each school based in large part on how students perform on state tests. But this year, the test scores could end up being used to rate teachers, too, if the city adopts new teacher evaluations as mandated by state law. This year’s tests are also longer than ever: about 300 minutes for each grade, more than twice what some students spent on testing in the past.
Last year, the Grassroots Education Movement, traditionally an outlet for activist teachers, launched a campaign to draw attention to — and, ideally, lower — those stakes. The parents who are opting out of the tests are part of GEM’s “Change the Stakes” committee, which is holding a forum on high-stakes testing Tuesday evening.
Only a few parents have committed to keeping their children out of the tests, but they say they are willing to go it alone to raise awareness about the pressure that students and schools are under. (more…)