A Two-Minute Opt Out Elevator Speech


So you’re on an elevator. Let’s hope it’s slow and you’ve got every button pushed. Because the person next to you is asking why you oppose education reform and you’ve got about 2 minutes to answer. Here’s what you can say in 2 minutes or less (if you talk fast):

–Education reform is crafted on the  grossly incorrect assumption that the broad scope of what we call learning can be measured with a single standardized test.

–These tests (MAP, PARCC, SBAC etc.) do not measure learning. They measure a child’s socio-economic status, zip code, and test taking abilities. They were not written by teachers and are not pedagogically or developmentally appropriate.

–All of the policies driving reform are based on these erroneous and faulty measurement systems. On this faulty system of tests we mis-evaluate children, fire teachers, and close schools.

–The lion’s share of the monies going to schools are spent on these tests and the curricula grounded on these tests (CCSS), while little money is being put toward building meaningful infrastructures that would enable children to actually learn more or learn better.

Hurry, one more floor to go.

Your friend asks, “Well then why are we doing this?”

You reply: “Because the corporations and politicians from both sides of the aisle who pushed these policies through federal and state legislation are making billions of dollars as a result of their implementation. It’s about corporate greed and corporate control of your child’s education. They are robbing our children.”

Your friend make a pensive face. “Well, what can I do about it?” You reply: “Refuse to participate by opting your child out of the tests, and creating awareness within your community. Fight to take back your schools. It stops when we stop it.”

The elevator bell has rung. “Ding.” The doors slide open. It’s time to get off.

Seriously folks. IT’S TIME TO GET OFF.

Published by educationalchemy

Morna McDermott has been an educator for over twenty years in both k-12 and post secondary classrooms. She received her doctorate in education, with a dissertation focus on arts-based educational research, from The University of Virginia in 2001. Morna's teaching, scholarship, and activism center around the ways in which creativity, art, social justice, and democracy can transform education and empower communities. She is currently a Professor of Education at Towson University.

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