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Let's put teaching ahead of testing

If you’re reading this message, chances are you agree that America’s children deserve a rich, meaningful public education that prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and challenges that await them as contributing members of a democratic society. We know that growing our nation’s future citizens and workers is a serious undertaking that calls for a thoughtful focus on teaching and learning.
As an AFT member and teacher working with students every day, I know that the growing fixation on high-stakes testing has undermined that focus, putting at grave risk our students’ learning and their ability to meet the demands of the 21st-century economy and to fulfill their personal goals.

That’s why I’m writing to ask you to sign this petition and join the thousands of Americans taking a stand to restore balance to public education by prioritizing high-quality instruction that is informed, not impeded, by appropriate, useful assessments.

The AFT executive council recently passed a resolution calling for an end to America’s fixation on high-stakes testing. Assessments should promote, not impede, teaching and learning. That’s the clear stand thousands of educators will consider this July when they gather for the AFT national convention in Detroit.

Test-driven education policies have forced educators like me to sacrifice time needed to help students learn to critically analyze content and, instead, spend our time teaching to the test. These policies have pushed creative, talented educators out of classrooms, misled parents about their children’s academic strengths and needs, and deprived children of the rich learning experiences they need in order to succeed in a 21st-century knowledge economy. And there are far too many examples of tests riddled with errors, which make them unreliable measures of student performance. 

By every credible measure, the testing fixation rooted in the No Child Left Behind Act has failed our students.Join thousands of people and pledge your support for the resolution on using tests to inform, not impede, teaching and learning.

I am committed, along with the AFT, to restoring balance to public education and ensuring that assessments support teaching and learning. Together, we can guarantee all children access to the high-quality public education they deserve, and ensure that educators have the tools and resources they need to help our children learn and grow.? ?

I hope you will join us.

In unity,
Don Carlisto, 
7th Grade Teacher
Saranac Lake Teachers’ Association, Affiliate of NYSUT & AFT

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