On March 14, 2013, an estimated 40 students from eight schools gathered at the Denver capitol to protest against TCAP (formerly known as CSAP) standardized testing. It was reported that students who participated at the walkout were flashed a middle finger by an employee from the Colo. Department of Education. The event was organized by Alex Kacsh who is a junior in high school and creator of Students 4 Our Schools (S4OS), which advocates for options in education stating, "We stand for life-long learning and experiential education and hope to spur a movement, through which students and their families will have a voice in the direction of their schools."
Prior to the walkout the students released the following statement:
"We, the students, are standing up for our education. We no longer want to be part of the cookie-cutter system where everyone is taught the same and forced to take a standardized test that we memorize answers to, making us products of the public education assembly line.
"In the past few years, the Colorado State Legislature has passed bills to change how our schools are evaluated. In result, schools have been labeled 'Turnaround status' or have been shut down. Students have been confined to their desks to learn certain knowledge for the sake of the test, while putting aside classes for life-skills.
"Teachers have to comply to the standardized test instead of teaching real-world experiences because if the school has low test scores it could result in them getting fired or their school shutting down. Starting next year, teacher salaries will be tied into students’ results on the TCAP."
Melissa Verdeal who has been a language arts teacher in Denver since 1988 disagrees with the TCAP and says it labels schools and students based on a single test. In an article written in 2012 Verdeal argued that after students receive their results "they start believing that they are only as good as their TCAP rating. It begins to define their sense of who they are as learners and as members of the community." Verdeal defended her argument by adding that she doesn't believe teachers should escape accountability stating, "Of course teachers need to be accountable for the learning of their students. We cannot hope to improve the quality of education for all students without it. However, accountability must be meaningful, reliable and shared by all stakeholders. I am not at all sure that one test in March is a true measure of the quality of a school, or a teacher, or a child."
Supporters of the TCAP argue that it plays a determining factor in preparing students for the ACT and SAT and is an efficient way of grading schools and teachers on their performance. S4OS doesn't agree and is planning more events to protest against Colorado's standardized testing explaining this is "the start of a revolutionary time where students will have a say in their educational rights."