Two primary school teachers in Tulsa, USA, are the latest to nail their colours to the mast and say 'enough is enough' when it comes to the endless standardised testing of children. The teachers, Karren Hendren and Nikki Jones, have sent a letter to parents with a detailed explanation of their refusal. They say that state-mandated assessments have  'gradually squelched the creativity and learning from our classrooms.'

To emphasise their point the teachers describe movingly the traumatic effects that this testing can have on the children they teach. In one case an English learner scratchd red marks down his face and cried because the test was not appropriate for him. They point out that this boy, 'one of the sweetest students a teacher could ask for . . .  can cook, clean, and take care of a baby better than some adults. This student loves writing books and can dance like no other. He is now comfortable enough to get up in front of the class and perform a talent or recite a poem.' And yet he scored in the 1% range in the test. (To read the letter in full go here).

Like many other teachers taking the same brave stand, these two have been threatened by management, in this case school superintendent Keith Ballard who said, apparently without irony:  'While I understand the frustration of these beginning teachers it takes a person experienced at using data to know how to use it to guide instruction. We need this data to monitor growth and improve results for all of our students.' So people experienced in using data apparently understand the needs of children better than teachers. This sums up the hubristic attitude of what these teachers call the 'testocracy' - the Pearsons, the Gateses and the Kleins who are driving this data storm in which children and their teachers are caught.

This latest stand in Tulsa is only the latest in a long series of fights against testing and corporate reform which is gathering strength in the US, the place from which this plague has been spreading into education systems around the world. Many have been reported on this website, inlcuding those in Chicago and Seattle as well as protests of students against testing. To find out more go to United Opt Out Or order the new book More than a Score. 

To send solidarity to the Tulsa Two and other places where it is needed, go to this page on the website.