My friend Beth Dimino caused quite a stir yesterday when she announced in a Long Island Press interview that she would refuse to administer the state’s high stakes tests to her students this spring. Beth has been a very determined fighter of the state’s testing regime and the Common Core State Standards aligned to it. While her announcement will add some welcomed juice to the movement to end the testing plague and will undoubtedly inspire other teachers to refuse to participate, we need to find ways to force whole districts to oppose the corporate drive to destroy public education using testing and inappropriate standards as some of their tools.
This spring, each of our school district must elect people to our boards of education who care more about protecting our schools from the corrupting influences of the so-called education reform movement than they do about holding on to these non-paying positions. We need board members who will hire superintendents like Joe Rella, Dimino’s superintendent, who are what I have called subversives for public education. In short, we need to mobilize the entire system – parents, teachers, support personnel, board members and superintendents, in its own defense. Together we need to say to the high and mighty Merryl Tisch and the Regents and the sycophants who do their bidding, we’ve had enough of your crazy bullshit. We are taking our schools back. We are done with spending days on testing and more days preparing for testing. We are returning to talking about education rather than test scores. We are going to carefully try to restore the morale of the staff, assuring them that we value their work. We dare you to try to stop us.