Teachers in the US town of Philadelphia are faced with disciplinary action as a result of taking a principled stand against the administering of standardised tests. Some of the teachers have opted their own children out of tests. They have also made known to parents that they have the right to opt their children out and a growing number of parents are doing so.

One letter from a parent who has chosen to opt he child out put it in a letter to the state education minister: 

I did not know until this past year that many students who are not fully fluent in English are being tested. I didn’t know their (test) scores were being used, not to provide them additional resources, but to close their neighborhood schools or to turn them over to private management organizations. I did not know that the testing regimen . . . becomes borderline (if not outright) abusive to students with special learning needs. I did not realize that standardized test scores correlate closely to household income. Over the past year, I have learned a lot about standardized testing, and how it is fundamentally reshaping public education across our nation. 

Teachers from Fentonville school where 20% of children have been opted out have been issued with notices to attend a compulsory investigative meeting. They have got support not only from parents but also from some politicians. One councillor said: 'Until we put some limits on this obsession with testing students, we will see protests like that at Feltonville. We stand with families who are making the choice they believe is best for their children.'

The tests are being introduced as part of a 'reform' programme in the US which sets out to rubbish public schools, encourage privatisation through charter schools, and discipline teachers. The tests are invariably produced by corporations like Pearson, which is making mega profits from education globally but particularly in the US, while getting more and more control over what is taught, how it is taught and even how teachers are trained.

The Philadelphia teachers are part of a growing movement in the US against the imposition of such tests, which has involved not only parents and teachers but also school students.

To find out how you can send support to the Philadelphia teachers go here