Thousands of teachers from around the country gathered to protest in front of the White House on Saturday, July 30, 2011, as part of the "Save Our Schools March". And while individual reasons for joining the rally
varied-including to oppose charter schools, fight for equal funding for poor schools, and to have more say in public education policies-their underlying message was the same. In fact, it was summed up during the sound check before the first speaker took the stage:
Tap. Tap. "No testing, no testing, 1-2-3."
Since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2002, frustration has been building among teachers, education advocates and parents alike. The bill, which made standardized testing the centerpiece of a school reform agenda, narrowed existing curricula to make time for test preparation and imposed unfair penalties on disadvantaged districts.
Many thought their long-standing complaints would finally be heard, but the law is still intact, and more schools are being labeled as failing, and standardized tests are starting to be used to justify teacher tenure and termination decisions. As I watch what is happening around the nation, I see state budgets being balanced on the backs of education and know that we are only compounding the issues for our youth.
We must all work together to find solutions!
Bernard A. Harris, Jr.