ISAT boycott controversy boils over at Chicago Public Schools board meeting

The controversy over a boycott of the standardized test known as ISAT boiled over on Wednesday at a Chicago Public Schools board meeting.
March 26, 2014 3:30:21 PM PDT
The controversy over a boycott of the standardized test known as ISAT boiled over on Wednesday at a Chicago Public Schools board meeting.

Some parents called out CPS officials for allowing attorneys to question students who did not take the test.

On Wednesday, Chicago Public School's monthly board meeting included a few heated comments.

''Students want to learn and teachers, snitch on their teachers, you should be investigated,'' said Anne Carlson, a Drummond parent.

Similar comments came from parents and teachers regarding a CPS investigation that included questioning staff and students.

''We are obliged to investigate allegations of staff misconduct around ISAT testing in a handful of situations,'' said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett.

Earlier this month, teachers at Saucedo Academy refused to administer the Illinois Standard Achievement Test, as did some teachers at Drummond Montessori School.

While Byrd-Bennett reports 99 percent of the ISAT tests were administered as required by law, the district is looking into situations where ISAT tests were not administered.

''Recent conversations have taken place at some schools in response to complaints and allegations of improper conduct on the part of CPS employees in relation to administration of ISAT,'' Byrd-Bennett said.

Some parents are troubled that teachers could be disciplined and - as part of the inquiry - some students were questioned without parental consent.

''On Friday morning I had to coach my kids on what to do if they were pulled out of class and taken into a room. I told them 'don't say a word, say you won't talk without your mom or dad in the room,'' said Jenny Biggs of Raise Your Hand. educational practices and have my support,'' said Mary Zerkel, a Drummond parent.

''Some teachers in our school boycotted based on an understanding of the best educational practices and have my support,'' said Mary Zerkel, a Drummond parent.

"The Illinois School Code gives the district broad authority to investigate allegations in their schools. CPS routinely investigates claims made against teachers, administrators and staff and often those investigations necessitate talks with students,'' said CPS spokesman Joel Hood.

Barbara Byrd-Bennett says they are winding down their investigation. She will consult with her legal team and then will make a recommendation to the board about action if she thinks it is needed.

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