Sure, I’ve read the studies and I’ve been in the classrooms – standardized testing is a threat to real education. But why should I rally on October 9th at the National Education Summit?
We are rallying on October 9th not only against the well-documented ills of standardized testing, but against the network (Achieve, Inc.) and the event (The 2001 National Education Summit) that is perhaps the leading advocate and "think tank" behind putting these policies into practice across the nation.
Achieve, Inc. is an organization formed in 1996 by corporate CEO’s and governors in a joint effort to increase academic standards and testing as the answer to "improving" our schools. Their main focus, aside from being a clearinghouse and network for the pro-testing movement, is coordinating the 2001 National Education Summit with the help of the many business, media, academic, and political bigwigs that back them up. The 2001 National Education Summit is the fourth in a long series of gatherings that began in 1989 when President Bush convened 49 governors to create the Goals 2000 initiative. There have been subsequent summits held in 1996 and 1999. From the 1999 summit, participants came away with two main goals: 1) to have every state adopt standards that are backed by tests, and 2) to set up a rewards and consequences system based on the tests. They have been frighteningly successful in many cases. The Achieve website declares, "The three prior education summits -- in 1989, 1996 and 1999 -- have been instrumental in creating and sustaining political momentum and public support for the drive to raise standards and improve performance in our nation's schools. This Summit should prove no exception." None of these meetings have ever been met with any enlightened objections to the policies and opinions that they are supporting and acting upon.
The summit is well-known as a watershed event for the "education reform" movement. At the last meeting in 1999, there were 24 governors, 33 business leaders and executives, 19 state superintendents, and 35 invited guests. The co-chairs of the 2001 summit are John Engler, the governor of Michigan (proud land of the MEAP’s) and Lou Gerstner, the CEO of IBM (the company that actually bought the rights of the Markograph, the first mechanized scoring device, back in the 1930’s for $15,000). Before coming to IBM in 1993, Gerstner was the head of RJR Nabisco, and helped oversee the notorious Joe Camel campaign. Other guests at the 1999 summit included: President Clinton, Richard Riley, the Secretary of Education under Clinton, Jeb Bush, Governor of Florida, Gaston Caperton, the President of the College Board, Rudy Crew, the Chancellor of the New York City Board of Education, David Gergen, the editor of US News and World Report, Kurt Landgraf, the vice-president of the Dupont Corporation and now President of the ETS, and Arthur Ryan, the CEO of Prudential. It is a collection of individuals and their troops of media that looks a lot more like The Business Roundtable than an education gathering, and in the eyes of these conferees, learning is in fact a very lucrative business. And keeping with the spirit of invisible, secret agendas, the summit has failed to invite any students, teachers, parents, or local administrators to have any voice in shaping their visions for American education.
Want a voice? Come out on October 9th,
4:00 PM, Route 9W, Palisades, NY
(12 miles N. of the GWB)