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Pencils Down, Students

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billaday/via Flickr

billaday/via Flickr
The United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) is calling for a boycott of periodic assessment tests mandated by the LAUSD, and have "directed teachers to refuse to give them to students on the grounds that the tests are costly and counterproductive," according to the LA Times.The tests in question are administered to high schoolers a few times a year to determine what the students need to be taught before the instructional term or year comes to an end, and the tests are not required by law at either the state or national level. UTLA believes that these tests waste time, but more importantly money--dollars the beleaguered LAUSD could ideally spend elsewhere and potentially avoid having to lay off teachers and cut funding to programs.

The union is urging its members to either forgo administering the tests altogether, or, if they do administer them, to refuse to submit the data to the district, according to their website. "Our battle is with the bureaucracy, not with each other," UTLA says to their membership. "Don't feed the bureaucracy by turning in your results!"

But new LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines is not in favor of the boycott. He says "that the assessments are part of teachers' assigned duties -- they are not optional. He also said he has and will amend aspects of the tests that need fixing. But he won't toss them out because, he said, they have contributed strongly to rising performance on the state's own annual tests."

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