AFT Seattle, Local 1789 (Seattle Community College Faculty) Solidarity Statement

WHEREAS, the teachers at Garfield High School have spoken with a unified voice against the use of the MAP standardized test, and are refusing to administer it; and teachers from numerous other schools in the Seattle School District publicly stand by their Garfield High School colleagues; and

WHEREAS, their refusal to administer the MAP test has drawn national attention; and former US Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch, education author Jonathan Kozol, and scholar Noam Chomsky have signed a letter supporting the Garfield teachers; and

WHEREAS, in this letter, these respected individuals correctly describe such testing as “overused and overrated”; and further that “no student’s intellectual process can be reduced to a single number”; and

WHEREAS, the Garfield teachers report that standardized testing negatively impacts their ability to teach and the students’ opportunity to learn by consuming valuable teaching time; monopolizing computer lab time; and distracting them from teacher-driven, constructive learning activities; and

WHEREAS, the results of standardized test are being used to measure teacher effectiveness, in spite of the evidence that many other factors impact test scores; and as well as being used to measure student learning, in spite of evidence to the contrary; and

WHEREAS, Seattle School District purchased the MAP test for $2 million, even though the former Superintendent was a member of the board of the corporation from which they bought it; and,

WHEREAS, the use of standardized curricula, and standardized testing, is becoming a trend in higher education; and such standardization also reduces student learning to abstract numbers; reduces diversity in curriculum; and requires a troublesome business relationship to corporations selling products and services to educational institutions; and

WHEREAS, we have already seen such meaningless quantification occur on our campuses, and increasing demand for “evidence of student learning,” and an overemphasis on the reduction of the educational process into data; and higher education faces ongoing pressures to standardize curricula and economize learning;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT, AFT Seattle, Local 1789, convey to Garfield High School teachers and the Seattle Education Association our admiration and gratitude for taking a strong and unified stand on behalf of students and teachers;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT, AFT Seattle inform other AFT Washington locals of its support of Garfield High School teachers and request they take similar positions of support and communicate them to the Education Association affiliates in their locale;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT AFT Seattle submit this resolution to AFT Washington for consideration at the 2013 Convention;

AND BE IT FINNALY RESOLVED THAT AFT Seattle, Local 1789 communicate support of Garfield High School teachers to local media, to 37th District State Legislators, to the House Education Committee and Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education committee members and to Mayor Mike McGinn.

As reported at SLOG

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