Wade Tillett on Wed, 17 Dec 2008 07:52:28 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> We're taking the bubbles back!

Wed., Dec. 17 at 1:30, Federal Plaza, Chicago 
Please join us! We have a permit. We have bubbles. We have purpose. We
have people (we need more). And we have had enough.


  Statement by Wade Tillett, Chicago Public School Parent and Teacher.

                   Bubble (Pro)test Press Conference

                      Wednesday, December 17, 2008

                         Federal Plaza, Chicago

                              Bubble Over

  It???s time for bubble tests to be over. Instead, learning must bubble
  over with the strengths, interests, and personality of each student.

A bubble, like the ones floating around here today, is a film of soap
inflated with air inside. A bubble test is a set of questions given to
students where they choose one of a number of answers by filling in the
circle, the bubble, that corresponds to the answer they think will be
counted as correct. Which kind of bubble do you think is best for

The basic problem with bubble tests is this: it turns each, unique human
being into a number. After that, the brutality is abstract. Things are
done to those ???numbers??? without any thought as to who that person is.

For example, under the direction of Mr. Duncan, my son is supposed to
take the Illinois Standards Achievement Test, also known as the ISAT. My
third-grade child would then be ranked in relation to other students and
might have to attend summer school based on his ranking. That's right.
Despite the fact that he has received outstanding grades and feedback
from teachers throughout his first few years of school, if he fills in
too many of the wrong bubbles he will not go directly to fourth grade.
We've had enough. 

You can???t measure learning, creativity, or anything else of real value
with bubbles. Because of this fact, the current ideology that makes use
of bubble tests dumbs down what is taught, limits creativity, encourages
competition between peers, penalizes students, teachers, and schools,
and focuses on students??? ???weaknesses??? instead of their myriad

The real measure of education should be made by each of us, both
personally and socially, by the lives we lead, the meanings we hold, and
the moments we share. That is the greater purpose of education - to
enable each of us to determine who we want to become, and then to help
us in that becoming.

The souls of ourselves and our children are at stake. We will not let
our children be turned into numbers that trump their humanity. We will
not let our children's educational future be determined by arbitrary
policies that do not take into account the living, loving, learning
human beings they effect.

My wife and I have informed Chicago Public Schools that we don't want
our son to take the ISAT this year. We are following in the footsteps of
Jim and Sue Gill who opted their children out in Oak Park. We urge other
parents to write their schools and opt their own children out of
high-stakes standardized tests. We urge all educators to act now to
create a new vision of education. We urge Mr. Obama and Mr. Duncan to
remember, when they are making each decision, that students are
flesh-and-blood, breathing, caring, feeling human beings. They are our
sons and daughters. They are people, not numbers.

The high-stakes test bubble has burst. It???s time for bubble tests to be
over. Instead, education must bubble over with the strengths, interests,
and personality of each student. Learning must bubble over with life.

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