National Park Service estimated 8,000 attended the SOS March on D.C. rally and march "to protest the standardized testing mania that is at the heart of the Obama administration’s school reform policies" according to Washington Post blogger Valerie Strauss.
Education Week reporter Nirvi Shah covered events here. Marchers reported that CNN was there too.
The Christian Science Monitor, the most recognizable media outlet, reported the event here. The article titled "Save Our Schools March: a teacher revolt against Obama education reform" describes the event as part of a "nationwide push" agains the President's policies.
"This is impassioned educators pushing back for good or bad," says Frederick Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, who is generally an advocate of standards-based reforms. "I think it's clear that this isn't union power tactics."
Hess goes on to say these efforts have the potential for positive effects:
"There is a simple-mindedness, an arrogance, and a reflexiveness with which the reformers are pushing their agenda, particularly from Washington, and I think they've wound up giving classroom educators serious and fair cause for concern about how things like value-added evaluations or merit pay are taking shape," says Mr. Hess of AEI. "This pushback both helps call attention to the need to do this smarter and offers an opportunity to slow down and pursue these things with the deliberation and thoughtfulness they require."
There is common unity across ideologies over the direction of current education reform initiatives. The public and taxpayers are not getting sufficient information on the rationale for expensive, increased standardized assessment regimes, starting at preschool ages with data collected in national student longitudinal databases. In these times of severe economic distress, how are such initiatives justified and what is their impact on students? During Senate education hearings last week, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan asked for more money, 13.3 percent budget increase over 2011, which would bring the department's spending one fifth higher than 2010 levels.
"As every family is doing more with less, so should we," Duncan said. "[But] you can't sacrifice the future to pay for the present." He said the increase in spending would allow the department to fund the increased demand for Pell grants as well as reform early learning initiatives and the Race to the Top program."
There are simply too many questions regarding the benefits and cost-effectiveness of increased federal intrusion into education. Will Congress look deeper and respond to growing concerns?