Teachers dressed as clowns protest MSA testing

Stop clowning around with education. That is the message a group of Baltimore City Public School teachers are trying to send and they're willing to get a little silly to get your attention. 
 
You may have seen them at the intersection of North Avenue and Calvert Street -- a few teachers in plain clothes and a couple more dressed up as clowns.
 
"We feel like we're clowns in front of the kids these days," Peter French, a language arts and social studies teacher, said. 
 
However, they couldn't be more serious about the topic. 
 
"It's one day, two days, even four days that are meant to measure a year's worth of learning for a child. It's not a year's worth of time. It's not a year's worth of work but it's meant to show that," Peter Redgrave, a middle school science teacher, said
 
As they work to get the word out one driver at a time, they said the problem is with the Maryland School Assessment or MSA.
 
The teachers said aside from the fact that it unfairly judges them and their students, it's also based on the old curriculum, not common core. 
 
"It's a stop gap because they don't have the tests ready for the Common Core and part of what we would like to see is a moratorium on testing until the tests that match the common core are ready," Redgrave said. 
 
"This test has a huge impact. Principals have come and gone in schools in Baltimore because of the results of this test but it really doesn't speak to, if we really want a quality education, this test has nothing to do with it," added French.
 
They would like to see Baltimore follow in Montgomery County schools steps where the superintendent proposed a three year break from standardized testing. They say that would give them time to reevaluate the purpose and execution of the assessments. 
 
"We don't want it to be the way we're evaluating our students like this makes statement about the child, this makes a major statement about teachers and whether they're teaching well. There are so many factors," Joan Jones, a fourth and fifth grade teacher, said. 
 
There were about five teachers in total out protesting Wednesday. The teachers said they were satisfied with the number of people who showed up in support, but are hoping more teachers, parents and students will show up next time. 
 
They say they will be protesting in the same location everyday the test is given in their schools over the next few weeks. 

 

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