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Sat Jan 12, 2013, 11:41 PM

 

Boycott of Standardized Tests- Seattle Teachers Revolt


Boycott of Standardized Tests Spreads as Seattle Teachers Revolt
Teachers in Seattle schools refuse to administer 'specious' standardized tests. Will others follow their lead?


Opponents of the nation's relentless push for standardized testing in public schools have new champions in Seattle this week as teachers at one high school and now another have refused to issue such exams to their students, calling them a waste of "time and money" amid "dwindling school resources."

The entire teaching faculty at Garfield High School (with only three abstentions) voted to support a boycott against administering the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) this week or ever again. Garfield is the largest of thirteen high schools in the Seattle Public School (SPS) system.

In a press release, Kris McBride, Garfield’s academic dean and testing coordinator, said the test “produces specious results, and wreaks havoc on limited school resources” during the weeks the test is administered.

On Friday, teachers at Ballard High School said they would join the boycott as well. National support for the teachers was also growing online, as a petition circulated and a facebook page for the teachers materialized.

...

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/01/12-2




Proud to be a Garfield Bulldog

January 12, 2013
by Wayne Au

On the afternoon of Thursday, January 10th, a group of about 15 teachers stood together in the front of room 206 at Garfield High School in Seattle, Washington. News cameras and audio recorders from local media outlets crowded the podium as reporters, students, colleagues, and supporters listened closely. The teachers at Garfield High School were announcing that they had agreed, nearly unanimously, to resist giving the district-mandated computer test known as the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) to their students.

One by one, teachers explained why they had made this decision. Some talked about the wasting of valuable classroom time for a test that is given three times a year. Some talked about the inaccuracy of the test because it wasn’t aligned with grade level content standards. Some talked about how, even though experts at the Northwest Evaluation Association (creators of the MAP) have cautioned against using high-stakes, standardized tests for teacher evaluation, the Seattle Public Schools will be using the MAP test as part of their evaluations anyway.

...

I also remembered some of my teachers there, especially Mr. Davis and his powerful African Studies class, and I remembered my own struggle as a teacher to keep that same African Studies class alive in the curriculum . And now I was here as a teacher of teachers and researcher of standardized testing, showing support for Garfield teachers, some of whom are personal friends and political allies. I couldn’t have been happier.

Located in the historically African American neighborhood of Seattle known as the Central District, Garfield High School has a long political history. For instance, Garfield was a well-known Seattle hotspot of Black Panther activity in the 1960s and ‘70s. More recently, last year Garfield students walked out en masse and marched to the mayor’s office to protest cuts to public education. And now Garfield teachers have taken the bold step of collectively resisting a district-mandated high-stakes, standardized test.

...

http://rethinkingschoolsblog.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/proud-to-be-a-garfield-bulldog/

11 replies, 1500 views

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Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply Boycott of Standardized Tests- Seattle Teachers Revolt (Original post)
JReed Jan 2013 OP
NYC_SKP Jan 2013 #1
ReRe Jan 2013 #2
defacto7 Jan 2013 #3
coalition_unwilling Jan 2013 #10
defacto7 Jan 2013 #11
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #4
liberal_at_heart Jan 2013 #5
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #6
loudsue Jan 2013 #7
JReed Jan 2013 #8
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #9

Response to JReed (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 12:10 AM

1. K/R (nt)

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Response to JReed (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 01:18 AM

2. Now this is news...

K&R

... Thank you, JReed, for posting it. I'm right proud of those teachers. Citizens in all sectors of this country must start standing up to the injustices that have been perpetrated on our country over the last 30 years, especially during GW's tenure. Education, Banking, Health, Justice, Energy, Post Office, right on down the line. Truly, I salute those Seattle teachers. It's a great step in the right direction. Repeal all the garbage that GW and politicians of every stripe enacted. We must clean this mess up once and for all!

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Response to JReed (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 01:54 AM

3. It's about time someone took a stand.

Standardized testing is a failed idea stemming from US education policy mistakes. No such thing in Europe or any western countries I know of and it shows when comparing our Math and Science skills.

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Response to defacto7 (Reply #3)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 03:39 AM

10. Most European countries employ some form of standardized testing to determine who

 

gets to proceed to post-secondary education. For example, France used the 'Bac' (or 'Baccalaureate') exam, while Great Britain uses 'O' level and 'A' level exams. I'm pretty sure Germany employs something similar in its Gymnasium, but it's been awhile since I've been there.

The reasons why standardized testing fails to do what it sets out to do do and still remains a popular panacea for educational dysfunction here has more to do with the fact that schools offer a microcosm of the society in which they are situated and replicate crucial features of the society's substructure. In the U.S., that substructure includes the FACT that 1 in 5 American children lives in poverty and 1 in 6 experiences at least one episode of food insecurity (aka "HUNGER") each month. That is the substructure upon which the charlatans and demagogues tout their standardized testing bullshit.

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Response to coalition_unwilling (Reply #10)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 12:45 AM

11. Thanks for the excellent comment.

You have a much better grip on the important issues concerning standardized testing than I. My wife is German and I live in both the US and the Netherlands. My comment was based on my wifes take on European testing. In Germany, there is a test at a certain age which determines the particular school level that the child will proceed with through the rest of their school career. It's based on their general knowledge and intelligence at that point. A child can be reevaluated and make a change to a different level but it is a rare case. I have my own misgivings about this approach but is does seem to have it's advantages.

Of course testing is normal throughout a German child's education but it is a totally different animal than what we are used to in the states. Cheating does not exist because there is no such thing really. Children are allowed to look at each others work and ask questions during testing. It's not as if there is some terrible disciplinary action hanging over their head if they happen to learn something from other students or even the teacher during the test. It's up to the educator to determine how the child is advancing in the subject matter and deal with their individual needs accordingly. When my wife came to the states, she could not believe that testing seemed so punitive compared to how she was brought up. She teaches here in the state now and takes a different approach based on her experience and is very successful.

I think kids learn to trust by growing up being trusted and not being expected to cheat, lie or intimidate to get ahead. If you take away the punitive mindset from the very beginning of their school life, they don't seem to feel threatened. The US system has taken on a great deal of generational baggage by pushing a system of testing that I don't think is giving children the best advantage in either knowledge or attitude.

As far as France is concerned, I understand they have the lowest levels of reading and math skills in Europe. I don't think their standardized testing is helping much.

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Response to JReed (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:00 AM

4. Seattle Education Association backs Garfield teachers in opposition to MAP testing.

 

#t=0s



Seattle Times:

In the statement, SEA President Jonathan Knapp said he wants the district to set a date to stop using the MAP exams. He also said that concerns over those tests are part of larger questions about the costs of testing, and how much time schools devote to it.

The union listed its concerns as follows:

*The test does not line up with state standards.

*The test does not line up with district curriculum.

*The test takes valuable time away from student learning.

*Many students do not take the test seriously.

*The testing time frame takes valuable time away from students in the school being able to access computer labs and libraries for other projects.

*The data obtained is of minimal use to teachers in planning lessons and meeting individual student needs.

http://preaprez.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/seattle-education-association-backs-garfield-teachers-in-opposition-to-map-testing/

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Response to JReed (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:08 AM

5. Yeah! They are my heroes!

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Response to JReed (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:10 AM

6. If you live in NY State, sign the petition to end high stakes testing - 6000+ have signed in 2 weeks

 

Over 6000 New Yorkers in less than 2 weeks have signed the petition to halt High Stakes Testing in NYS. If you live in NY, sign on and pass to a friend or neighbor.

http://roundtheinkwell.com/2012/12/29/petition-to-the-nys-board-of-regents-against-high-stakes-testing/

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Response to JReed (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:29 AM

7. Yes to marijuana. No to standardized testing.

I'm liking Washington more and more every day.

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Response to JReed (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 09:59 AM

8. Bump

 

n/t

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Response to JReed (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 03:32 AM

9. go ballard!

 

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