Sponsored by United Opt Out National.

April Fools!
No Child Left Behind – Fool Me Once.
Race to the Top – We Won’t be Fooled Again.

Join us.  In solidarity with Occupy Movements everywhere.

Join United Opt Out National & #OCCUPYDOE in Washington D.C.

It is time to end Wall Street Occupation of Education.

We asked – they said NO.  We wrote – they said NO.  We sent them research – they said NO.  We say NO.  We opt out. We will put a screeching halt to corporate education by saying NO to the test.

We will occupy the Department of Education in DC from March 30th to April 2nd.  On-going planning can be found at our Facebook Occupy the DOE page.

It’s time to put the public back in public education. Occupy the DOE and show them who education REALLY BELONGS to.

This is a statement by United Opt Out National about the Occupy DOE day.

On March 30th to April 2nd, 2012, the grassroots education reform organization United Opt Out National (http://unitedoptout.com/) will be holding an event in Washington, DC called Occupy the DOE. As a collection of teacher educators, K-12 teachers, and parents from around the country, we ask for your participation and support.

For more than a decade, the reform narrative in education has been dominated by test-based accountability, competition, and punishment. Large foundations and other corporate entities have propagated market-based principles like school choice, pay-for-performance, and for-profit management of schools. Consequently, large amounts of private wealth go towards influencing legislators and other public officials to dismantle public education, ultimately in favor of a private system that can be run for profit.

The key lever is the vaunted score on high-stakes state standardized tests, used to justify a slew of controversial decisions. As a result of ten years of this kind of reform, we are experiencing schools just as segregated by race and social class as they were in the 1950s. We in the United States are also experiencing a teaching profession that is constantly undermined and under attack. The culture of punishment and competition created under No Child Left Behind and now Race to the Top has proven to be a massive failure. Yet, private entities still push for test-based accountability measures despite near-universal opposition from educators and the pile of evidence against it.

In order to grind this failed reform climate to a screeching halt, we at United Opt Out National feel that an ultimate act of civil disobedience is all that we have left. We therefore call upon educators, leaders, parents, and students across our vast public education system to withhold the data by opting out of their state’s standardized tests. If policy-makers, legislators, and other officials cannot make responsible decisions based on quantitative data, and if they refuse to appreciate evidence to the contrary, then the only arrow left in our quiver is to simply refuse to hand over the data.

We at United Opt Out National certainly understand the potential consequences of refusing state standardized tests. We appreciate the reluctance of teachers and administrators to engage in an opt-out measure. Various state departments of education and their officials falsely claim that parents do not have the legal right to opt-out, that their refusal to concede to the tests will unfairly punish their children and their schools. While officials might be able to fire teachers, they cannot fire parents. If school systems wish to continue their obsession with test scores, then they must also be prepared to offer alternatives for the growing wave of parents who see test preparation violating their consciences and robbing their children of meaningful educational experiences.

Our Occupy the DOE event will include numerous teach-ins, social events, and actions in protest against test-based and corporate driven education reforms. In preservation of a free and equitable public education, and to support a new direction in education reform, we ask that you strongly consider participating in our event. If you would like any other information, feel free to contact any one of our administrators through our site at http://unitedoptout.com/, which provides direct links to our myriad social media accounts, endorsements, readings, and other documentation.

This is United Opt Out National’s mission statement:

Members of this site are parents, educators, students and social activists who are dedicated to the elimination of high stakes testing in public education. We use this site to collaborate, exchange ideas, support one another, share information and initiate collective local and national actions to end the reign of fear and terror promoted by the high stakes testing agenda.

We believe that high stakes testing is destructive to ALL children, educators, communities, the quality of instruction in classrooms, equity in schooling, and the democratic principles which underlie the purposes of public education. We believe that a quality public education is a basic human right for all children, one which must remain in the hands of our communities and out of the hands of big business, corporate reformers and politicians. If we are to save, and transform, public education into spaces where ALL children have an opportunity to flourish, grow, question, challenge, think and be prepared as democratic citizens, we must begin with the fight to end the high stakes testing movement.

What we do:

We have two basic platforms: Our website is designed for people to access documents, templates, forms, and other vital state and federal information, and our Facebook which is dedicated to providing ongoing avenues for grass-roots collective actions. Here you will find opportunities not only to share and learn but to ACT. We invite anyone to propose actions for the group to take in addition to the ones organized by the FB administrators.

For additional information, check out their website.

And this is a comment that was made on the Teach Occupy Wall Street Facebook page by Mark Naison.

Hypocrisy Not Democracy

How does it feel to live in a country where the people making education policy, the Barack Obama’s, Arne Duncan’s, Bill Gates’, and Michael Bloomberg’s, send their children to private schools where classes are capped at 15, where there are no standardized tests, where teachers’ creativity is honored and there is plenty of art, music, science and sports, but want YOUR children to sit at a desk all day preparing for standardized tests, taught by teachers who work in terror of losing their jobs, in schools where art music and sports are cut to make room for a testing? If you think this unfair, if you think it is wrong, if you think it is hypocritical, then join parents, teachers, students and concerned citizens at “Occupy the DOE” in Washington DC March 30-April 2! It’s time to stand up for democratic education and fight off the bogus “education reform movement” which wants to create a two tier education system that reserves creative thinking for the children of the wealthy while condemning the vast majority of American children to a regime of rote learning.

Dora