A head of steam is building up behind the campaign to boycott testing in the US.

The campaign – which started with a boycott by teachers of the MAP tests in Seattle has spread to other towns and cities. School students in Portland, Denver and Rhode Island have taken up the cause – organising demonstrations and boycotts. Meanwhile parent groups in New York, Washington and Colorado have organised opt-out drives. To read more about how the campaign is growing, visit the website of Fair Test.

Teaching unions in the UK have boycotted testing intermittently over the past decade, with the result that in Scotland there is no high stakes testing. However tests are re-appearing in Wales after a policy panic caused by results from the PISA survey (which compares children across the OECD countries through testing) showed that Wales’s results were lower than England’s.

Meanwhile all over the world children are being punished by being forced to take endless tests preceded by mind-numbing test preparation, and the same tests are being used to deride and devalue the work of teachers, who are becoming one of the standard scapegoats for the economic crisis. This is as true in the UK as it is in India or Mexico – as witness for example the rhetoric of the World Bank, or that of Michael Gove – the  UK education secretary.

The fight against high stakes testing should be a global one, since it goes to the heart of the neo-liberal project – to produce standardised and credulous people, who do what they’re told at work, buy what they’re told to by advertisers and swallow uncritically the neo-liberal view of the world as a great race between countries and people for the glittering – and for most elusive – prize of prosperity.