Why are teachers being threatened over the ISAT?

I found a little time on Saturday to revisit some of the recent issues we’ve covered on the show. We talked quite a bit on the March 1st Revolution and Beer weekend show about the Illinois Standard Achievement Test (ISAT) boycott that was sparked by several community groups in February. In my googling, I came across Ben Joravsky’s piece from March 4th where he explains the experience of actually reading the school code for the state of Illinois. He was in search of the legally binding mandate to administer the tests. Since dire warnings of punishment, and even threats of termination, were issued to those teachers who declined to give the test, then certainly there was clear language within the code justifying such retaliation. Spoiler alert: He couldn’t find the ISAT in the code.

The comments on articles like this are always interesting at the very least, and sometimes extremely informative. That is, if you can wade through waives brain-dead contrarian BS, partisan cheer-leading, and all-out trolling. Even I couldn’t help myself and had to contribute to the anything-goes political blabber. So much snark; such little grasp of the culture and history of propaganda. You really can’t help but to roll the dice just out of curiosity. This exchange was a favorite:


Aside from some class A comment drama, there was something missing from, or being avoided by, the comments of the pro-ISAT folks on this thread:

“But the law doesn’t specifically mention the ISAT…state law requires that public schools give a test. But there is no law requiring students must take it…That makes me wonder: Did Koch and Chico play hardball with the teachers because (1) they made an honest mistake in their reading of the school code or (2) they do what Mayor Emanuel tells them.”

No one had addressed that.

Also, there are accusations/positions thrown around that the commentors aren’t owning up to:

  1. Just the mere participation of the CTU in a coalition means that the big bad union bosses run the whole thing. (leaves one wondering how such critics would define “community”)
  2. That if citizens have positions similar to the CTU, then they are magically transformed into union operatives; hence their positions and concerns are null and void.

Maybe I’m just missing something, but it appears to me that those applying this rationale are just opposed unions in general, as well as the act of working-class people organizing themselves and sharing resources to better their circumstances, and perhaps even teachers in general. That’s some pretty Koched-up thinking. I guess we should all just stop asking questions and follow orders.

Further Reading:

If you so dare, you too may peruse the school code here.


CTU page about ISAT boycott


Weekly Testing Resistance Round-up:



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