Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Bronx 8th Graders Boycott Tests

The students remark:
"We've had a whole bunch of these diagnostic tests all year," Tatiana Nelson, 13, one of the protest leaders, said Tuesday outside the school. "They don't even count toward our grades. The school system's just treating us like test dummies for the companies that make the exams."

According to the petition, they are sick and tired of the "constant, excessive and stressful testing" that causes them to "lose valuable instructional time with our teachers."
The administration has placed the blame for initiating the riots on Douglas Avilla, a 30-year-old social studies teacher.

Avilla says:

My students know they are welcome in my class to have open discussions," Avella said. "I teach them critical thinking."
Students say:

"They're saying Mr. Avella made us do this," said Johnny Cruz, 15, another boycott leader. "They don't think we have brains of our own, like we're robots. We students wanted to make this statement. The school is oppressing us too much with all these tests."

Several students defended Avella. They say he had made social studies an exciting subject for them.

"Now they've taken away the teacher we love only a few weeks before our real state exam for social studies," Tatiana Nelson said. "How does that help us?"

Kudos to these students for taking a stand. Very impressive.

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