George Schmidt Fired

K-12 Testing

The Chicago Board of Education has fired George Schmidt, a long-time high school teacher and publisher of Substance newspaper. Schmidt was fired for printing six of the city’s pilot CASE exams (see Examiner, Spring 1999). The city is continuing a million-dollar “copyright infringement” lawsuit against Substance and Schmidt. In that case, Schmidt is arguing a defense in the tradition of the Pentagon Papers, that the public’s need and right to know is more important than the government’s need for secrecy.


FairTest’s Monty Neill was a witness at Schmidt’s termination hearing, testifying about the abysmal quality of the CASE and about the need for test openness. In his report, the hearing officer stated that he would prefer not to recommend firing Schmidt because of his excellence as a teacher, but state rules would not allow for a lesser penalty. Schmidt also received significant support from educators and activists around the nation who wrote CPS and have assisted him in meeting his legal costs.


Schmidt said he was not surprised by the firing, adding that CPS has “brutally and mindlessly damaged tens of thousands of children through their testing, retention and promotion policies. What they’ve done to me is just a small part of their attack.” He and Substance continue to be a strong voice for openness and reason in testing, with a particular focus on Chicago.


-- Substance, 5132 W. Berteau, Chicago, IL 60641-1440; 773/725-7502;; soon on web at