Santa Fe Public Schools School Board President Steven Carrillo Publicly Applauds Student Protest Against PARCC Test Outside the NM State Capitol, and Urges Parents, Teachers and Community Members To Join the Student-led Movement ///
Meanwhile, Education Secretary Hanna Skandera Refuses to Meet With Hundreds of Anti-PARCC Students Gathered Outside Her NM Public Education Department ///
Students Vow to Continue Citywide Walkout Against PARCC Test
For a second consecutive day, hundreds of Santa Fe public high school and middle school students walked out Tuesday from their classes in protest against the controversial new computerized PARCC test that is slated to start next week and dominate class time throughout much of the rest of this school year.
Protesting Testing ::: Santa Fe, Capital High at the Roundhouse, January 24th, 2015
from Davideo Cortometraje
. By 12 noon, around 250 students had gathered outside the busy New Mexico state capitol building to protest the PARCC test, while lawmakers and lobbyists worked feverishly inside in the midst of a 60-day legislative session.While most of the students chanting “Say No To PARCC” and “No PARCC-ing Here” were from Capitol High School and Santa Fe High School, youth from other schools including middle school also turned out.
Many female students were in attendance, but several male students in particular raised their voices above the crowd to articulate their reasons for being there, drawing loud cheers.
One shouted, “We represent students of Santa Fe, New Mexico and of this United States of America! We will not stand idly by and watch as our entire high school career get based off of one test. We are here for a peaceful protest. We are here to protest against the PARCC test. Our voices will be heard!” Another, quoting British poet Suli Breaks, expressed, “Exams are society’s methods of telling you what you’re worth. But you can’t let society tell you what you are.””We are ranked fiftieth,” said another. “They are giving us the same exact test that Connecticut is taking. Is that fair? We are not going to take it anymore. Say no to PARRC!”
A fourth student declared, “”We are all here for a reason. We are all out here in this cold weather, freezing, to prove a point for the government.” As if on cue, Santa Fe School Board President Steven Carrillo, who had been observing from the periphery of the protest, spoke up to address the gathered students in mass. “I can’t tell you how amazingly happy I am to walk out…and see all of you here today,” Carrillo said after introducing himself, sparking loud cheers from the students.
“One of the things that is most important to realize,” Carrillo continued, “is our country has a very proud tradition of protest being able to move progress on so many issues, and your being out here today is testament to that.” “This number needs to grow,” he said. “This needs to include parents and teachers and community members. You all are tested enough. We don’t need nine hours of testing. What’s really important to know is the people that need to hear you are Cabinet Secretary Hanna Skandera.” “Bring her out,” the students chanted, interrupting the School Board President’s speech. After Carrillo informed the crowd that the
the Department of Education office is across the street on Don Gaspar, the students marched over there and attempted to draw Skandera out to speak to them.
Some students went inside the NMPED building to negotiate for her appearance, while most stayed outside, continuing their chants. After about a half hour, a male NMPED official came out and announced that the Education Secretary was not willing to speak to the group. Disappointed but not giving up, the students vowed to return another day. Shortly thereafter, the protest ended around 1 pm. Santa Fe High School students announced they were returning to their campus and would continue to protest outside the school library. Other students returned to class at their respective schools or otherwise dispersed into the city. Back at the Roundhouse, School Board President Steven Carrillo was not surprised that Hanna Skandera had refused to meet with the students. But if history is a guide, so long as the student protests against PARCC keep growing as Carrillo hopes they will, Skandera may soon have no choice but to stop ignoring the uprising and meet with its leaders. Initially planning to protest all week, student leaders changed course late Tuesday and announced on Facebook they are calling on everyone to be in class on Wednesday and Thursday, before returning to the streets and to the halls of governmental power on Friday. They were worried that parents can be taken to court to justify 3 straight unexcused student absences. “We don’t want any trouble like that,” one posted anonymously on Facebook.
For more background on this issue, read the mainstream media reports.