In every declaration, statement, test question, there is that: “operative-turn-key word(s)”; in this case the reader should very clear (and looking for), as to what is meant by the word: “back”.
“Unions say they will back teachers who refuse to administer mandated standardized tests to students”–Washington Post
“From Alice O’Brien, head of the NEA Office of the General Counsel:
“NEA supports parents who chose to exercise their legal right to opt their children out of standardized tests. When educators determine that a standardized test serves no legitimate educational purpose, and stand in solidarity with their local and state association to call for an end to the administration of that test in their schools, NEA will support those educators just as it did in the case of the teachers who protested the administration of the MAP test at Garfield High School.”
From AFT President Randi Weingarten:
“We supported teachers at Garfield High School in Seattle when they refused to give redundant tests. We supported early childhood teachers in New York when they shined the light on how abusive it is to give bubble tests to 5-year-olds. On the testing madness that’s sapping the joy from our classrooms, teachers are the canaries in the coal mines, and we support their advocacy. Ultimately, though, it’s up to parents to make the decision whether to opt out.”
Exactly what kind of support the unions will give to teachers who decide not to administer a standardized test remains to be seen.” –Washington Post
Oh well, who needs clarity when you can settle for rhetoric.
Sometimes when I read news articles I wonder if there is a need for some regulation that would force them to issues a warning label at the start of the article that says: “Read this improperly at your own risk!” In any event this is just another opportunity to put in my plug for the importance of critical reading skills. This headline could, if not read with the skill of critical analysis; and read in the context of the full article could lead to a teacher being terminated. What is also missing from the article is an explanation of the regulations that govern teacher professional responsibilities. Why is this important? Because of all of the charges that could lead quickly and easily to a school employee’s termination, it is the charge of insubordination that will do it! And that is why I would advise teachers that if you are not given an illegal directive, that you do what you are being asked to do; and then after the event, file a grievance; or a lawsuit. Standardized assessments, whether you like them or not; or whether you deem them useful or not, are legal mandates. No employer (public or private) is going to allow an employee to pick and choose what rule they wish to follow. If a teacher decides that taking attendance, allowing students to use the rest room, or giving a student a grade on a report card, is unnecessary; should they be allowed to refuse to do it? Finally, the comments of the union leaders may have been politically “slick” and nuanced; but they were very clear in not inviting their constituents to violate regulations that could get them fired; only it is up to their constituents to read their words cautiously, critically and carefully.