Chicago students pulled out of class for questioning over test boycott

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Some Chicago public school students were taken out of class and questioned by district investigators who are looking into a boycott staged by teachers of the mandatory Illinois Standard Achievement Test earlier this month — and their parents, who weren’t asked for permission — are angry.

Chicago teachers at two public schools — Drummond Montessori and Little Village’s Saucedo Scholastic Academy — decided not to administer the state-required ISAT because they believe students are being over-tested and that the test is being discontinued next year, anyway, so it has no real meaning.

According to the Chicago Sun Times, district officials began taking some Drummon students out of class on Thursday to ask them questions about why they didn’t take the test. It quoted one mother, who asked not to be identified, as saying:

“I was absolutely furious and I really still am…. I called the school to make sure my daughter wouldn’t be interrogated, but it was too late, it already happened.”

The story also said:

Several of the children told teachers after the interrogations that several questions were followed up by: “Are you sure? Are you lying?” according to Tricia Black, a teacher at Drummond who took part in the boycott of the test, which is being phased out next year and which many parents and teachers see as gratuitous…

…My third-grade student was interrogated by herself in the principal’s office with the door closed. Which surprised me that you would take a child of that age and close the door to the office with someone that you don’t know.”

Chicago Public Schools spokesman Joel Hood released a statement that said:.

“Chicago Public Schools is meeting and talking with students, teachers and staff at Drummond Elementary School about ISAT testing to ensure students were comfortable during the time the test was administered. CPS officials only spoke with students who opted to talk with them, and the investigation does not pertain to any student disciplinary issue. Students who chose not to take the state-required ISAT test last week do not face discipline from the District. CPS has decreased the number of standardized tests issued each year, but the District is required by Illinois law to administer the ISAT, and the test is tied to federal and state funding

 

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.

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Valerie Strauss · March 21, 2014