By Jackie Burrell
Monday, April 21st, 2008 at 12:29 pm in Schools.
Public education came to a screeching halt in millions of classrooms this month as children spent day after day bubbling in answers to state standardized exams. But Seattle sixth grade teacher Carl Chew had had enough. Last week, he refused to administer the WASL, the Washington Assessment of Student Learning exam used to satisfy requirements under No Child Left Behind. Chew’s explanation? “I have done this because of the personal moral and ethical conviction that the WASL is harmful to students, teachers, schools, and families.” And he cited 24 reasons why the exam was bad for kids, families and schools.
But school administrators regarded it as an act of civil disobedience and escorted him off campus. Now, his superintendent says Chew will be suspended without pay for two weeks for insubordination, and he’ll be expected to administer the exam next year.
Chew’s actions were applauded by teachers and families in other states, the Parent Empowerment Network, and Gerald Bracey, an education policy fellow at Arizona State University and the University of Colorado, Boulder, added his kudos in a Huffington Post essay that’s more than a little hyperbolic. (Um, the Nuremburg trials? War crimes? That’s a tad extreme.)
We’re waiting to see if Chew’s civil disobedience is contagious. Your thoughts?