Wisconsin Teacher Who Refused to Administer Standardized Test Ends Boycott

A Wisconsin eighth-grade teacher who refused to administer a test required under the federal No Child Left Behind law ended his two-day boycott Thursday under the threat of being fired by the school district.

David Wasserman, who began protesting the standardized test by not following district guidelines to administer it, administered it on Thursday, said Ken Syke, a spokesman for the Madison School District.

Wasserman's boycott violated district policy, and if continued, it could have lost him his job.

"It is part of every teacher's duty to administer the test," Madison School District Superintendent Art Rainwater said in a statement. "Any failure to fulfill this required duty would be considered insubordination and subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination."

Wasserman objected to the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam that tests students in reading and mathematics to determine annual progress.

"My observations and conclusions about the test lead me to conscientiously refuse to participate in its administration," Wasserman, a teacher at Sennett Middle School in Madison, Wis., said in a statement about his boycott.

Results of the test are released with a "negative focus" that don't meet annual benchmarks under the federal law, Wasserman said.

"The schools must bear that public blow, then need to raise the scores while under more pressure but with potentially less funding and resources," he said.

Bush disagrees, recently defending his plan that he says helps students improve and requires accountability in schools.

"The No Child Left Behind Act is working," Bush said at a press conference at an educational event in September in New York City. "Scores are improving, in some instances hitting all-time highs. Children across America are learning."

Congress is considering the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind act.

A national group that opposes the overuse of standardized testing applauded Wasserman's effort, calling it a "moral protest."

"Teachers recognize that No Child Left Behind is undermining both educational quality and equity," said Robert Schaeffer, public education director for FairTest.

Schaeffer said standardized testing is the sole measure of educational quality, which forces schools to focus too much time on test preparation.

"It's not education," Schaeffer said. "It's practicing for the test all the time."

Testing in Sennett Middle School continues through Nov. 9 for the sixth, seventh and eighth-graders on campus. Sixth and seventh-graders are tested on reading and math while eighth graders test on all areas.

Sennett Middle School Principal Colleen Lodholz said she couldn't comment on Wasserman but added that the school is recognized as a "school of promise."