Sunday, May 4, 2014

The "Sit and Stare" Policies used against Test Resistors are Daily Practice in Many Charter Schools

For the past year, I have been working with, and trying to get legal representation for, parents whose children have been forced to "sit and stare" during standardized tests they have refused to take. This punitive policy has outraged parents and Test Refusal advocates throughout New York State and has resulted in mass pressure tactics which have persuaded many school districts- but not all- to eliminate the practice
Given the appropriate level of outrage this practice has generated among people in the Opt Out movement, it is important to understand that this practice was not invented for their children-- it has long been prevalent in "zero tolerance" charter schools that have proliferated in inner city neighborhoods in recent years.
Schools like those associated with the K.I.P.P. charter chain, the "Uncommon Schools" chain where NY State Education Commissioner John King was once a principal, and Eva Moskowitz's "Success Academies" have long made a practice of disciplining allegedly "unruly" students by making them sit and stare at a wall for hours at a time. Indeed, it is through disciplinary measures like this that these schools have used to drive out students they deem difficult who they fear might lower test scores as well as undermine school discipline
This is yet another reason why parents, teachers and students in suburbs and rural areas must communicate with the counterparts in the inner city, and vice versa. No one is living in a bubble, and abusive education policies pursued in one area will inevitably spread if they are not exposed