We found out about these students when someone forwarded their email to Momma Bears. The students sent this email to their teachers and to teachers at other schools:
As you may have noticed, the quantity and duration of standardized tests have increased astronomically in recent years. We feel that these tests take away from instructional time, waste valuable resources, constrict our curricula, and still fail to provide an accurate measure of progress that would justify the losses they incur. My peers and I have decided to try and change standardized testing policy by creating and supporting a bill to limit the damaging effects of standardized testing. We request that you help us achieve this.
Attached to this email are a number of relevant documents. First, we have letters for parents and students to help educate them on the situation. Many parents have no idea how all-encompassing testing has become and many students are unaware of what they can do to fix it. Please copy these letters and distribute them to your students. We have written both English and Spanish versions of these letters to ensure that they reach as many people as possible.
Second, we are providing surveys for teachers, parents, and students. In order to effect any sort of change, we need as much support as possible. Please have your students complete the surveys and bring them home to their parents to fill out. You can send the compiled information from your school to White Station High School either by email or school mail.
We are also sending petitions to the state representatives of Tennessee asking them to reduce standardized testing. If you think standardized testing is going too far, please add your signature to the petition. Since a more personal approach carries emotional weight, we will also send a contact list for local and state representatives so that you and your students can inform them of your concerns.
It may seem a bit far-fetched for a group of high school students to try and change government policy, but we are organized, we are prepared, we are united, and we are willing to do everything in our power to reduce standardized testing and reclaim our education.
Shelby County Students
Perhaps these teenagers see the uncanny resemblance to their lives and the teen-fiction movies that have become Box-office hits like Divergent and Hunger Games? They know they are more than a test result.
These students attend White Station High School, a top-ranked public optional school in Memphis. It is an outstanding school. During enrollment season, parents have camped outside the district office to make sure their child gets a spot at this school. The teachers at White Station are known to be outstanding and supportive. In fact, it appears that these students were taught how to advocate in their Civics class through something called "Project Citizen."
- Letter to parents urging action and support to opt-out
- Spanish letter to parents urging action and support to opt-out
- Petition supporting the OPT-OUT of testing in Tennessee
- Petition for a Moratorium against testing
- Thorough Spreadsheet of important people to contact including elected officials and media
- Their overwhelming district and state testing calendar for Shelby County
- Bless these kids! They even know that the state-run Achievement School District is a dismal failure and they wrote a petition against it!
- A petition against the time-consuming MAP testing they were forced to take
- A parent survey to collect public perception on testing
- A student survey to collect student feedback on testing
- Signature page for people to print and manually collect signatures
Not only did these students come up with all these documents, they met with elected officials. They want to go to Nashville to speak before Education committees. And they are reaching out to other students across the state!
Momma Bears are inspired by the bold advocacy and determination of this next generation of leaders. Please, help us share this across the state so their spark ignites fires in other students, parents, teachers, and elected officials. These Tennessee students have powerful knowledge of how government works, and they know their voices are powerful if they use them.
Students are going to change the world. They aren't just the future, they are the present.
To find out more about refusing TNReady and other standardized tests in Tennessee,
please visit our website:
There is even have a special website for students: