"I Would Prefer Not To"-- Can Teachers Urge Students To Passively Resist Standardized Testing?

I found a great website titled TeachersCount.com which EMPOWERS teachers by showcasing our accomplishments, allowing our students to honor us, and facilitiating a forum for discussion.  

I entered their TeacherBlogger section and found a post about The Bartleby Project,  cleverly named after Herman Melville's novella "Bartleby, The Scrivener" whose main character engages in passive resistance against carrying out his assigned duties at work. Like the character of Bartleby, the leader and creator of The Bartleby Project urges teachers to influence their students to passively resist standarized testing by simply chanting Bartleby's mantra: "I would prefer not to."   My response to the post about this rebellious movement follows:

Teachers are a strange breed; we love to complain, but when it comes down to having a back bone and speaking up against all of the injustices we endure, we cower in fear of losing our jobs. Who can blame us! We are such a fragmented and disenfranchised group. Taking on a school district not only makes us a target and a pariah among our colleagues, but the risk of losing our job serves to gag us.
As a 20 year veteran, who had nothing to lose this time around, I spoke up against my school’s district hypocritical anti-bullying policies. I also brought it to my superintendent’s attention and to my school board that my child’s teacher had submitted a fraudulent Advanced Placement syllabus to the College Board. The AP teacher showed over 50 non-academic movies instead of teaching the AP syllabus she submitted for the College Board’s approval. I provided solid evidence, but school boards don’t like the truth, especially if it has been uncovered by a parent who happens to be a 20 year veteran teacher.
I suffered the backlash of speaking the truth, and bringing these serious issues to light. I resigned after 20 years disgusted and depressed by the politics, the lies, the teacher abuse and the lack of genuine concern for improving the education of our students.
I can only imagine that a teacher would face termination and public humiliation in the press and in the court of public opinion if he/she encouraged students to boycott standardized testing. Encouraging students to sabotage a standardized test would be deemed a criminal act in the eyes of a school district because of the lack of parental consent. I believe there would be many legal implications for a teacher who took part in obstructing standardized testing. The media would certainly brand the teacher as someone who abused his/her influence over students to coerce them to sabotage an assessment tool designed by the school district’s state.
Now, if a group of teachers who had nothing to lose, mustered up the courage to organize themselves to recruit parents, counselors, administrators and possibly even school board members to form a covert operation aimed to sabotage standardized tests, then this would change the entire image of the operation. It would no longer be a conspiracy, but rather an intervention on behalf of all stakeholders to save our children from the ill effects of standardized testing.
Without a united front from all stakeholders, this would be a mission impossible. If teachers can gain parental support so it is parents who convince their children to boycott the standardized testing, the plan has a chance of being successful. Without parental consent, it is a failed mission because although there will be those kids who will jump at the chance to rebel against the test, especially among middle or high schools students, there will always be those who won’t shock the status quo if they aren’t sure their parents approve. It’s human nature among kids to conform to their parents’ wishes, and obviously, it’s human nature among teachers to passively and silently accept injustice rather than confront it and risk their livelihood.


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