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Teacher refuses to give N.C. End-of-Grade Tests

Susan Notes:

A North Carolina decides, "I need to stand up and practice what I teach." That means refusing to administer the state test.

Kudos. Kudos.

Look at public comments at the newspaper:

#1 Doug Ward is an incredibly dedicated teacher who works hard to provide inclusion opportunities for his students who have very severe diabilities. You, Go Doug!! I have a son with autism who is not in Doug Ward's class, but who takes the Extend 1 EOG and will never pass it. We work hard to develop an INDIVIDUALIZED Education Plan for our children with disabilities and then at the end of the year force them to fit into a standardized test category. My son has made tremendous progress this year thanks to his teachers at Cullowhee Valley School. If you compare his September work to his June work - the progress is tremendous. Unfortunately, according to the State and thanks to No Child Left Behind, my child will fail his end of grade tests and all that hard work and progress will be negated in the eyes of the state. If it were up to me, my child would be LEFT BEHIND to learn and progress at his own pace.

#2 It would be an incredible pleasure if ALL teachers in NC would refuse to give these EOG's. What would the state do?????

#3 I am also a North Carolina teacher. I can assure you there are countless situations like the one Mr. Ward faces. The only thing that matters in NC schools today is test scores. Students have become widgets on an assembly line. We only teach to the test. Everything else is irrelevant. There are even computer programs in use whose only purpose is to teach students how to take the multiple choice exams given by the state. I welcome accountability but what we have in NC is a system out of control. It will take more than teachers like Mr. Ward. Parents must get involved. In some cases parents have refused to let the children participate in these tests.

#4 Give him a medal - these tests must be noting short of torture for young kids, even those bright enough to cruise through them.

#5 I commend Mr. Ward for standing up against this standardized test for the children in his Cullowhee North Carolina class. I believe more teachers, school administrators, & parents need to take a stand against the no child left behind testing! These test are lubricous because no child learns the same. Most people in general, let alone children are terrified of any kind of test. If a child does well in the class room setting and passes the class test given on any given subject by his teacher, why give a standardized test that in my opinion has no benefit other than to make the Bush administration feel they have contributed to higher learning. If this is higher learning, Bush should be tested & proved a failure as President of the great USA. Stand tall Mr. Ward and don't back down.....!

#6 Ward's got a lot of guts. I had a low functioning kid wet his pants two years in a row during testing - for what? We all knew he would fail. He'd been deproved of oxygen during his delivery. He was a good kid doing his best every day. Why put them through this? I hope this causes some reform, but it would take a lot more of us standing with this teacher. Do we have the will?

THIS is the question: How can we help teachers acquire the collective will to go forth and do likewise?

by Ashley Wilson

A Cullowhee Valley School teacher has been suspended after refusing to administer the N.C. End-of-Grade Tests to his students with severe intellectual disabilities.
Doug Ward was suspended with pay Tuesday afternoon for insubordination and being disruptive, he said.
On Monday, Ward, 36, sent a letter to his school and Jackson County School District administrators saying, âI have decided that I will not participate in the NCEXTEND1 testing of any students here at Cullowhee Valley School.â The NCEXTEND1 Alternative Assessment is designed for students who have severe intellectual disabilities.

"Basically, the way it was set up, my kids have no chance of passing," said Ward, who has been teaching for three years. "If you have a kid that is 11 years old and only developed to the level of a 1-year-old â I think I am a decent teacher, but I am not good enough to develop him to pass the test."

Ward was supposed to begin administering the test Monday. Another teacher at Cullowhee Valley School has taken over for him in testing his students, Ward said. Students with disabilities must be tested under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Phone calls to administrators at Cullowhee Valley School and Jackson County Public Schools were not returned by deadline Tuesday night.
While Ward is opposed to all standardized testing, he said recent changes to the NCEXTEND1 have made it impossible for his students to be successful.

The test went through a standard review process that resulted in changes to this school year's test, according to Vanessa Jeter, director of communications for N.C. Department of Public Instruction.

"We are not aware of any situation where a teacher has taken a similar stance, at least in North Carolina," Jeter said. Recently, a science teacher in Seattle was suspended without pay for nine days after refusing to administer the Washington Assessment of Student Learning.

Ward's inspiration for his stance came from some of his fifth-grade students, he said. In a class he co-teaches, Ward tied issues of racial discrimination the students were reading about to discrimination against people with disabilities.

The students did a lesson on what they have done and what they could do to enhance inclusion for all students.

"If I am going to teach this to my fifth-graders all year, I need to stand up and practice what I teach," Ward said.

In a meeting Tuesday with school and district administrators, he was told an investigation would be conducted and he would be notified in a couple of days, Ward said.

"Administrators have so much pressure," Ward said. "They must have the test scores, so if you are a young teacher and all your children fail, there are going to be negative repercussions. I really want it to be out there so that these other teachers have a resource â so they can show their administrators there's a reason these kids donât pass the test, and it's not because I donât do a good job teaching."

— Ashley Wilson
Ashville Citizen-Times



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