Thursday, April 25, 2013

In Support of "Test Resistors" Who Apply to Fordham College

April 25, 2013
Michael Latham
Dean, Fordham College

John Buckley
Director of Admissions
Fordham College

Dear Mike and John
I want to altert you to a growing national movement that I am part of which may affect future applicants to Fordham College and to urge you to welcome application from students who have participated in it

As you may know, there is growing resistance on the part of educators and parents to the deluge of high stakes tests which are being imposed in our public schools as a result of policies made at the national and state level. These tests, which are also being used to rate teachers and schools, have, in the opinion of some of the nation's leading education scholars, stifled creative thinking, turned classroom instruction into test prep, and taken away precious time from activities that most promote student engagement, especially the arts.

People concerned about excesssive testing have written articles, circulated petitions, held demonstrations at state capitols and in Washington, but with little impact on policy, so now the movement has moved into the sphere of direct action. These last two weeks, thousands of students in New York State, with the support of their parents have chosen to Opt Out of State tests, and there have been student test walkouts in Portland, Denver, and most recently in Chicago, where hundreds of student participated in a test boycott yesterday.

This movement is likely to grow by leaps and bounds in coming years, affecting admissions policies in the nation's leading colleges. Many of the "test refusers" are outstanding students, leaders in their communities, who have taken this step as a matter of principle in the face of threats from state or local education officials. A great example of this is a student named Israel Munoz, recently admitted to Fordham College, who is one of the leaders of the Chicago Test Boycott, and will hopefully come to Fordham to work with me on the Bronx African American History Project!

I am therefore urging you both to take note of this growing movement, and to tell the people on your staffs to welcome applications from young people who choose to forgo standardized tests as a matter of principle, and give their applications the most serious consideration.

At at time when ill-conceived testing policies, imposed by leaders of both major parties, are deadening the minds of young people in our public schools, these young test resisters represent the kind of independent thinkers, concerned citizens, and people with a passion for justice that the entire Fordham community has always welcomed, and have made Fordham College such a special place,


Mark D Naison

Professor of African American Studies and History

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