Everyone knows that the problems surrounding teacher evaluations and high-stakes testing will not truly be “fixed” until the APPR law is fundamentally changed or abolished and the toxic influence of corporate profiteers is removed from education policymaking.
Everyone also acknowledges that the progress we have made in the last few months would not have been possible without the pressure of 240,000 opt outs. But further progress toward our ultimate goals is dependent upon the continued vitality of the opt out movement. Unfortunately, there are clear signs that interest in and support for opting out is declining, due principally to SED pressure on school districts and uncertainty among parents who are being misled into believing that the moratorium fixed everything and that school districts will lose funding if children don’t take the tests.
The local leaders who make up the Nassau Region Steering Committee met on February 23rd and were in agreement that all teacher locals have a compelling interest in reinvigorating the opt-out movement by increasing public awareness of the importance of continuing to opt children out of high-stakes tests. To this end, the Steering Committee is planning a high-visibility event in support of opt out and is calling on every teacher local to participate to the fullest extent possible.
On Saturday, March 12, teachers, parents, family members and friends are requested to come to the Roosevelt Field Mall between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and noon wearing homemade white T-shirts that simply say OPT-OUT to “shop” for support for the opt out movement.
The event is called OPT-OUT/SHOP-OUT and the hope is that holding it at one of the busiest and most visible venues in Nassau County will generate increased “buzz” about opting out.
Because Roosevelt Field is private property, this is technically not a demonstration or a protest or a rally, but simply a group of people out for a morning of shopping who all just happen to be wearing the same T-shirt. There will be no signs, organized marching or leafleting.
The Steering Committee believes this is a perfect opportunity for members to do something meaningful and fun about an issue of great importance to them, and maybe get a little shopping done in the process. Anything your local can do to generate member interest in participating, such as arranging for “shoppers” to meet for breakfast beforehand or lunch afterward, would be very helpful.