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Boycott!

The most powerful statement we can make about standardized tests just might be to leave them blank. Boycotts have sprung up around the nation, and here's a few step-by-step tips on how to make them the most successful:

1. Get as many students as possible.
The more students boycotting the tests, the better chances you'll have at having your voices heard and the less risky the situation might be for you. Try to establish a local core of students who reach out to their various classes, grades, and circles of friends in support of a boycott. Publicize the event with the students through flyers, meetings, and even small boycott reminder cards on the day of the test.

2. Find parents or teachers who support you as well.
Once there is a strong student support behind the idea, see if there are any other adult allies who might support you as well. Look to parents, teachers, administrators, and local community members and encourage them to write letters or speak to influential people in support of the student actions. Be careful to make sure that the student support is central, and that it doesn't become an adult movement with the help of students.

3. Contact the media and be ready to deal with them.
When you are very clear and certain on what kind of action you will be dealing with, let the local media know through a mix of press releases and phone calls to local reporters. Have information ready to give them, and be ready to talk to them in a way that might not completely offend them. Try to realize that they might disagree with or not even understand exactly what you're doing and that is your job to patiently communicate the real and powerful reasons you're taking action against the testing craze.

4. Be prepared for test day.
With a boycott, there is a large amount that rests on the one or few days of testing, so it is very helpful to come fully prepared. Have a place where the student protesters will meet. Have a plan of what they will do. Will you show up to class? Stay at home? Stay in the cafeteria? Protest on the sidewalk? Have plenty of information to distribute. You could even hand out this parody test if you'd like.

5. Encourage administrators or public officials to take the test.
While you're boycotting the test, ask your principal, superintendent, local reporters, or elected officials to take the test. It is a great way to but the decision-makers in the place of the students on this issue. Many times they will refuse, and in the rare times that they don't, they can't believe what they were just put through.

6. Be creative.
The more creative you can be with an action, the more likely people who don't completely agree with you might listen. Instead of just explaining the evils of testing, try wearing costumes, making banners, or spending your time doing something far more intellectual than taking a test. Try reading Sophocles on the school lawn, or wearing huge ID numbers all over your outfit. Go wild.

7. Tell us your stories.
Whatever happens, we'll be very curious to hear how it went, what you learned, and exactly what transpired. We'll be sure to put it up on the site and in our resources for other groups from around the country to learn from. Good luck!

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