FairTest News Release on Public Letter about Standardized Testing by 120+ Children's Authors & Illustrators

for further information:                                                                 
Dr. Monty Neill (617) 477-9792
Bob Schaeffer    (239) 395-6773
                                                      
for immediate release --  Tuesday, October 22, 2013

120+ CHILDREN’S BOOK AUTHORS AND ILLUSTRATORS TELL PRES. OBAMA,
“WE ARE ALARMED AT NEGATIVE IMPACTS OF EXCESSIVE SCHOOL TESTING”
SIGNERS INCLUDE MAYA ANGELOU, JUDY BLUME, JULES FEIFFER, DONALD CREWS
SAY POLICIES UNDERMINE “CHILDREN’S LOVE OF READING AND LITERATURE”

    More than 120 leading authors and illustrators of books for children, including several national award winners, are calling on President Obama to “change the way we assess learning so that schools nurture creativity, exploration, and a love of literature.”  

    Their letter delivered to the White House today stated, “Our public schools spend far too much time preparing for reading tests and too little time curling up with books that fire their imaginations.”

     “All children must have the freedom to grow, to evolve, to develop,” explained acclaimed poet Maya Angelou, who spoke at President Obama's inauguration. “We parents, authors, illustrators are standing up for our children. We desperately need you and your administration to stand with us.”

     The authors’ and illustrators’ letter continued, “We are alarmed at the negative impact of excessive school testing mandates, including your administration’s own initiatives, on children’s love of reading and literature. Recent policy changes by your Administration have not lowered the stakes. On the contrary, requirements to evaluate teachers on student test scores impose more standardized exams and crowd out exploration.”

    Signers of a “Public Letter on Standardized Testing from Authors and Illustrators of Books for Children and Youth” include such other notables as Alma Flor Ada, Judy Blume, Jules Feiffer, and Donald Crews, as well as National Book Award winners Kathryn Erskine and Phillip Hoose.

    The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest) coordinated signature gathering for the letter. The assessment reform organization’s executive director, Dr. Monty Neill, explained, “The authors and illustrators recognize the damage done to young children by testing overkill. The new Common Core assessments will not reverse the damage. In fact, they will mandate more standardized exams in more grades.  It is time for an indefinite moratorium on high-stakes exams.”

                                                                                                                  - - 3 0 - -

- The letter to President Obama with a complete signers’ list of children’s authors and illustrators is online at:   http://www.fairtest.org/public-letter-on-standardized-testing-by-childrens-authors

- A fact sheet on Common Core assessments is at: http://fairtest.org/common-core-assessments-factsheet