"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Saturday, March 18, 2006

To Every Parent and Student of America: Boycott

Kimberly Marciniak stands as an inspiration. Not only that, but she had colleges eager to have her as a student:

When Kimberly Marciniak first decided to take a stand against standardized testing by boycotting the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills, critics from all sides begged her to change her mind.

Since public school students in Texas must pass the test to earn a high school diploma, teachers and guidance counselors worried the intelligent young girl was throwing away her chances for college. A guest on a local radio talk show said she'd made a "stupidly stubborn decision."

Now Marciniak, 18, has the ultimate "I told you so." She has been accepted to her top three college choices and offered scholarships from each one.

Marciniak is part of a growing contingent of students nationwide showing their opposition to high-stakes testing by putting down their pencils.

In Massachusetts, New York, Washington and California, students and parents have boycotted state tests in recent years. And a growing number of colleges and universities also are turning their backs on standardized tests by dropping the requirement that applicants submit an ACT or SAT score. . . .

Marciniak said her parents — her mom graduated from Wellesley College and her dad graduated from Harvard University — stood behind her decision to boycott the test, even if it jeopardized her college chances.

She said she hopes she's proven a point.

"I was so thrilled not only to be accepted but also thrilled that in a sense I proved all those disbelievers wrong. My decision did not hurt my college application process like everyone feared," Marciniak said. "In fact I saw the exact opposite — the colleges I applied to looked on a principled boycott as a positive thing."


  1. Bravo to the student! I just started reading The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America by Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt. This former school board member and high-level policy official from teh Reagan era makes some interesting observations from the reform agenda as well as high-stakes testing. Have you read this book? It is now avaliable for free at www.dilberatedumbingdown.com as a pdf file.

  2. Anonymous4:28 PM

    Hi this is Kimberly A. Marciniak- I am the boycotter of the TAKS test and am currently enrolled at Knox College in Galesburg, IL. My decision to boycott stemed from the fact that I simply could not participate in a system that I knew was hurting students- as someone who believes in equal oppertunity- I know from the expieriences in the public school system in my city that not every child has the oppertunity to same education. The right to a public education is becoming a privelage and no longer a right. The NCLB act is perhaps the worst policy to befall on America- it's a policy that continually hurts students and the teachers. It is uncomprehensable for me to think that people believe teachers are unfairly passing on students- it discredits a job that recieves little recongnition and little benefits- it is un-imaginable Texas politicans would ACCUSE teachers of such a horrible offense and in my opinon they should feel ashamed to do so. I know I am only a drop in the bucket of education reform- the only reason I made national and state news is because I am a child of privleage and an honor student. Now, as a college student I feel a little more optismistic that education reform is possible- it takes a tiny ripple of students, teachers, and parents before we become a wave- it is time for parents, teachers, and students from across America to reclaim our schools from ruthless politics. We outnumber these politicans, and proponents of standardized testing- together we can make a differance- divided or paralyzed by fear we cannot. I ask you to let your conscience decide what you stand for- obviously having a Texas state dipolma did not keep me away from persuing a college education. I doubt it will hurt my future prospects and I hope to one day be able to make a more meaningful,direct differance but, I know on an individual level I already have. I hope that you will make a similiar decision.
    All My Love,
    Kimberly A. Marciniak