Pencilsdown.org
Building an online community against standardized testing

Program Description:

Come learn how www.pencilsdown.org is attempting to organize and inform a grassroots community concerned by the affects the never-ending barrage of unaligned, inaccurate, unfair and expensive standardized testing in California and across the nation. Learn your rights as a parent or educator and share strategies for opposing the meaner, higher, tougher trends threatening public education.

Session Description:

Opponents of child-centered education, including the Alliance for Childhood, Mathematically Correct, the Heritage Foundation, and the Real World, have effectively used the World Wide Web to advance their positions and recruit advocates. Progressive educators, even advocates of educational computing, have done little to respond to this provocation. This important session intends to give voice to the silent majority of educators directly affected by the fallout of what has been described as the meaner, tougher, higher standards movement.

Our democracy and the quality of public education is threatened when parents and educators are unaware of the monetary costs associated with standardized testing and the social, emotional, professional, and miseducative impact of the over-reliance on secret tests administered without the slightest hint of public accountability.

The panelists will offer a state-by-state review of standardized testing including: 1. each state's current testing practice 2. the per-pupil cost per year 3. parental consequences (if any) for refusing to participate in the testing process

The panelists have spent the past year collecting data on state-by-state spending for standardized testing and will discuss the difficulties associated with uncovering what should be public information. They will offer a research-based analysis of problems with standardized testing as a metric for student learning and discuss the negative toll such practices have on the educational process.

This session will unveil a new Web site dedicated to assisting parents and teachers in stopping the testing madness and diverting those funds to a variety of significantly more productive ends in school. Members of the audience will be asked to help organize a statewide campaign in their state. The time is now. Stand up against the madness and restore the focus of schooling on the best needs of children.