Letter to Jose Banda from the President of the Garfield High School PTSA

January 24, 2013
Jose Banda
Seattle Schools Superintendent

Dear Superintendent Banda,

I am the President of the Garfield High School PTSA and I write regarding the MAP Testing issue. The Garfield PTSA is in support of our teachers’ position that the MAP tests are not useful at the high school level, are a waste of time for everyone involved, and should not be given. The time and resources devoted to these tests would be better spent in regular classroom instruction. We have suggested to parents at Garfield that if the tests are given that they opt out of the testing for their child.

We are not opposed to standardized testing or accountability of the teachers for their performance in the classroom. However the testing needs to be reliable, related to the students curriculum and of sufficient value to the students that they take the tests seriously.

Unfortunately the MAP issue has apparently become a test of wills between the District and the teachers. This is unfortunate but also common is these kinds of conflicts. We would urge you to take the steps to defuse the conflict. It would not be a show of “weakness" on your part to say you have heard the message from the teachers and parents at Garfield and will suspend the test while better testing approaches are pursued. We would strongly support you in such a common sense step.

We understand that the teachers have been told that they will be put on 10 days unpaid leave if they do not conduct the MAP tests. This simply inflames the issue. Taking teachers out of the school further compromises the educational program at Garfield. The students would be the losers. This is not what the adults should be doing.

We would appreciate an opportunity for representatives of the PTSA to meet with you on this issue as soon as possible. We do not want to see the education of our children compromised by increasing conflict on this issue. We need the teachers in the classroom and available to the students.

Thank you for consideration of our concerns and I hope it will be possible for you to find time in your schedule to meet with us.

Sincerely, Phil Sherburne, President, Garfield HS PTSA

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