Resolution of Support from the Prince George’s County Educators Association

The Prince George’s County Educators Association (in Maryland) passed the following resolution on 01/28/2013:

RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF SEATTLE TEACHERS

WHEREAS: THE USE OF STANDARDIZED TESTS IS SPREADING. In response to the demands of the Race to the Top program, and to the trend toward greater “accountability” in education, states are developing even more tests for more subjects. Standardized tests, once used to assess student learning, have now become the main instrument for evaluating teachers, administrators, and even entire schools and school systems.

WHEREAS: TESTS CONSUME A GREAT DEAL OF TIME AND MONEY. Standardized testing is consuming an-ever growing proportion of education budgets nationwide. The total price tag is nearly two billion dollars.

WHEREAS: TESTING HURTS STUDENTS. In the name of “raising standards” the growth of high stakes testing has effectively lowered them. As the stakes for tests are raised higher and higher, schools have been forced to spend less time on arts and sciences, and more time on tested subjects.

WHEREAS: RESEARCH DOES NOT SUPPORT USING TESTS TO EVALUATE TEACHERS.   Research shows that nearly 90% of variability in standardized test results are attributable to factors OTHER than the teacher. So-called “value-added” models for teacher evaluation have a larger margin of error, and are not reliable measures of teacher performance.

WHEREAS: The Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) test was adopted by a former Seattle Public Schools superintendent who also served on the board of the company that made the test.  She was later dismissed by the school board for this action, which the state auditor termed an “ethics violation.”

WHEREAS: The MAP is a major component of teacher evaluation, yet the test taking company has stated that the test is not designed for that purpose.  Furthermore, the margin of error for the test is greater than the required student progress on the test.

WHEREAS: Teachers at Garfield and other Seattle Public Schools have been told by the Superintendent that they will be suspended for 10 days without pay if they refuse to administer the MAP.

WHEREAS: Seattle teachers have received support from their local PTSA, their local union, AFT President Randi Weingarted and NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, with Van Roekel calling the test boycott “A defining moment within the education profession.

RESOLVED: the Prince George’s County Educators’ Association support the staff at Garfield High school in Seattle who voted unanimously to refuse to administer the state’s Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) test. Taking this action, the educators at Garfield High School have struck a blow against the overuse of standardized tests, and deserve support of all advocates of public education.

FURTHER RESOLVED:  We pledge $200 to the solidarity fund.

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