Teachers are fed up. Although the world has been in a pandemic for the majority of 2020, schools are still requiring students to come to school to take standardized tests. A teachers’ group based out of Atlanta, Georgia is calling for a strike.
According to various social media posts from frustrated teachers, despite students learning from home, some districts in metro Atlanta are calling for students to come to school in order to take end-of-the-semester standardized tests. This is after Georgia State Superintendent Richard Woods requested testing waivers for the 2020-2021 year and US Secretary Betsy BeVos shut the request down. Besides the obvious fact that the nation is in a pandemic and over 300,000 people have died from COVID-19, the expectation of standardized testing is just unfair.
Parents have been given the option in many school districts to decide between virtual and in-person learning. For students who are learning from home, how are teachers supposed to control the environment to ensure it is optimal for learning and testing? Testing during a pandemic is completely inappropriate for many reasons, including: (1) nothing is normal; (2) the mental health of teachers and students is at stake, and (3) the needs of students are not being met.
A teacher-organized group, Teachers for Good Trouble, is striving to put an end to the standardized testing mandate. The organization posed a question on its Instagram page on November 23rd, “What would 24 hours with no teachers in America look like?” They hosted a nationwide rally entitled A Day Without Teachers on December 15th. The goal of the rally was for teachers to call out sick from their teaching duties in order to bring awareness to the issue with standardized testing. The organizers developed lesson plans for each grade band that the absent teachers could use.
The group has hosted a virtual summit with information about the movement, written teachers’ union letters, and created a change.org petition that currently has more than 24,000 signatures. Several teachers who follow the Teachers for Good Trouble Instagram account have changed their profile pictures to support and bring awareness to the movement. Over the past few weeks, the organization founder has hosted virtual strategy meetings. These meetings have prepared teachers for the in-person rallies. Rallies have been organized in major cities across the nation, including Atlanta and in Washington D.C in front of the Department of Education building.
To learn more, follow @teachersforgoodtrouble on Instagram or visit their website at https://www.teachersforgoodtrouble.org/.