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Chicago Test Boycott Expands, Gets Support of National Union

A boycott of Illinois state tests has spread to more than 70 Chicago schools, and has now garnered the support of American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.

An alliance of parents, joining with the Chicago Teachers Union, has organized the boycott of the Illinois Standards Achievement Test, or ISAT. It began with teachers at two schools, Maria Saucedo Elementary Scholastic Academy and Thomas Drummond Elementary School, saying they'd refuse to have their students take the test.

Teachers at those schools say that the test, which is soon to be replaced with one aligned to the Common Core State Standards, continues to be mandated this year solely to fulfill a requirement of the No Child Left Behind Act.

Parents at 74 schools are now planning to have their children sit the test out, according to an announcement from the union local.

Yesterday, Weingarten issued a statement in support of the boycott, saying that parents are "understandably frustrated" that the ISAT is "unnecessary and irrelevant" because it doesn't inform instruction or gauge student or teacher performance. It also doesn't reflect curriculum updated to reflect the common core, she said.

"It's a meaningless hoop to jump through that benefits no one. So, why subject kids to it?" Weingarten said.

The state board of education has said that the Chicago district could face "disciplinary action" if it doesn't administer the test to all students as required, according to The Chicago Sun-Times. In response, parent activists sent a formal letter of complaint to the state board, the Sun-Times said.

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