Change The Stakes Stands in Solidarity with Garfield High School Teachers in Seattle.
Dear Superintendent Banda,
It has come to our attention that you plan to discipline teachers in the Seattle Public Schools who refuse to administer the MAP test in the Seattle school districts despite the unanimous support that their action has had across the nation, which has inspired all of us resisting the damage that high-stakes, standardized testing that for the past 10 years has negatively affected schools, communities (school closures, charters), and students (achievement gap, segregation/apartheid, drop in college preparedness) and teachers (high teacher turn-over) alike.
We firmly believe you are making a grave mistake in taking any punitive action against these brave individuals who acted (finally) for the benefit of the students. Like the teachers in Newton, Conn. who risked their lives to protect the children, the teachers in Seattle are living heros and an inspiration to parents and teachers everywhere. The overuse and abuse of testing has had damaging consequences for students for whose curriculum has been narrowed, whose needs are forced to fit a one-size fits all model of instruction, and who have been robbed from an evaluation process that is an informative tool that demonstrates genuine growth and predicts future success. Money spent on test production, scoring, test prep material, and software has been cut from classrooms and resources in favor of private pockets such as Pearson, LLC.
Please reconsider your actions and stand on the right side of the issue for the benefit of the Seattle students, schools,and the teachers. Their action should be a moment where school officials in your city take stock of the role testing in shaping instruction and consider whether you are doing grave damage to the quality of Seattle public schools by using student test scores to assess teachers.
Change The Stakes is a New York based organization made up of parents, teachers, principals, professors/scholars, and concerned residents who are part of a larger, and growing national movement against excessive testing.
We applaud the teachers in your district you propose to penalize. They are providing a powerful example for teachers throughout the nation.
Change The Stakes
We, the members of Change The Stakes, stand in solidarity with the teachers at Garfield High School in Seattle who are refusing to administer standardized, high-stakes tests to their students as they see these as a “waste of time and money”. Teachers at Garfield High School are setting an example for other teachers and parents to rally against these tests that have been, and continue, to distort education for our children and the stability of the teaching profession. It is clear that the feelings here in New York about these tests are felt nation-wide. As parents and teachers of Change The Stakes we are grateful for your courage and we share your struggle. May more teachers and parents take the stand against these standardized measures that have only created fear of school by students and teachers.