Recirculated by the Fraser Valley Labour Council
Chilliwack Teachers Association urge parents and supporters
December 16, 2010
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
RE: Foundational Skills Assessment (FSA) - January 17 - February 25, 2011
At the recent BC Federation of Labour Convention, a part of the Education Committee Report called for the Federation and its affiliates to demand the BC government immediately end the erosion of the quality of public education, which is the result of imposed provincial standardized testing and chronic underfunding.
Between January 15 - February 25, the Ministry of Education expects most Grade 4 and 7 students to write a standardized test called the Foundational Skills Assessment (FSA). The FSA is a set of annual provincial tests in reading comprehension, writing, and numeracy. These tests do not count toward students’ marks in any way. In fact, for many years teachers have voiced concerns about the FSA and the way the results are misused by the Fraser Institute and the provincial government to create a one-dimensional ranking of our schools with the ultimate goal being to discredit the public education system.
Teachers know that teaching and learning in classrooms is a complex, dynamic process and that there is no such thing as a “standard” student; students learn and grow at different rates and in different ways. Teachers believe in fair, effective, and reliable assessment that supports and promotes student learning. The FSAs, in the current way they are administered and the data is used to rank schools, do not.
What can you do? As a parent of a child in grade 4 or 7, you can express your concerns about the FSA with the teachers and administrators at your child’s school. You may request that your child be withdrawn from the FSA tests by writing a letter to the school principal. As a stakeholder in public education, you can voice your concerns to your local school trustees, Parent Advisory Councils, or by writing letters to the editorial section of your local papers. As a member of your local union, you can use the information attached in discussions with other educational stakeholders and pass it on to other members of your union for their continued support for our campaign.
It is important that we speak up about the overuse of standardized testing, the misuse of the results, and to protect the quality public education experience for students. For more information about teachers’ concerns about the FSA, you can peruse the attachments or visit the BC Teachers Federation website (look for the heading Foundation skills assessment/standardized testing).
Thank you for your support,