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Chicago Students Skip Tests to Protest School Closures

Students angry over the proposed shuttering of more than 50 schools in Chicago next year skipped Day Two of state testing today to protest the closures, according to local media reports.

The specter of hundreds of high school students skipping the second day of Illinois' Prairie State Achievement Examination—a test high school juniors must take as a condition of being promoted to 12th grade and graduating—alarmed Chicago public schools officials enough to send letters home to parents this week, reminding them of the importance of the exam.

The Chicago Sun-Times published an editorial today urging students not to boycott the test.

Wednesday's testing boycott was also billed by some student activists as a stance against what they say is the overuse of testing for high-stakes decisions such as school closures, and teacher and principal evaluations. About 300 students protested this morning at the headquarters for Chicago schools, according to a press release from an organization called Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools.

The Chicago boycott of the PSAE is just the latest rebellion against what many parents, students, teachers, and advocates see as a testing craze that has detracted from meaningful learning. Students in Portland, Ore., staged similar anti-test protests earlier this year, as did teachers in Seattle.

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