A Standardized Test Is A Poor Substitute For Justice

The Intersection of High-Stakes Standardized Testing and Race in NYC Schools

Recorded at the Institute for Collaborative Education in New York City. February 7, 2018. 

This event was organized solely and independently by parents (ICE Parent Action/Education Advocacy Committee) in conjunction with Black Lives Matter In schools week.

PART 1. Opening remarks from moderator Takiema Bunche Smith provide context for a remarkable panel discussion on how high-stakes testing perpetuates and deepens the assault on black children and black childhood. 

PART 2. Principal Zipporiah Mills and teacher Kristin Taylor in dialogue about the origins of standardized testing, how testing has changed classroom practice and budgets, and how black children are disproportionately harmed.

PART 3. Middle school teacher José Luis Vilson reflects on how high-stakes testing and test-based “accountability” negatively affect the black teacher workforce, with consequences for students.

PART 4a. I.C.E. teacher Jehan Senai Worthy describes an alternative to high-stakes testing as embodied by New York State’s Consortium schools, a network of schools that use performance-based assessment tasks and prioritize student choice.

PART 4b. I.C.E. high school student Chris Lopez reflects on his experience at a New York State Consortium school, one of a network of schools that use performance-based assessment tasks and prioritize student choice, thus providing an alternative to high-stakes testing.

PART 5. Panelists discuss a range of topics where high-stakes testing and race intersect. With Takiema Bunche Smith (moderator); Zipporiah Mills (retired principal); Kristin Taylor, José Luis Vilson, Jehan Senai Worthy (teachers); and Christopher Lopez (I.C.E. student). 

Questions Posed to Panelists (Minutes:seconds into video)

00:00 What is the research base that supports high-stakes testing?

01:15 What comes under the umbrella term high-stakes testing? How can opting out impact any/all of those systems? Why opt out?

08:20 How do you define a failing school? How can you identify a school in need of improvement if you don’t have test scores?

13:36 Does high-stakes testing contribute to school segregation here in NYC?

19:12 What would you say to those who think that opting out and pushing back against standardized testing and neoliberal education reform is for white people?