January 30, 2013
Office of the Superintendent
P.O. Box 34165
Seattle, WA 98124-1165
Dear Superintendent Banda:
We, the undersigned teachers and staff at Dearborn Park Elementary School, are writing to voice our concerns about the Seattle School District’s use of the MAP assessment. The teachers at Garfield High School did us all an important service when they announced that they were boycotting the test this winter. The MAP assessment takes valuable resources of teaching time, computer lab access, and district money away from where it is most needed. The MAP test provides little to teachers in the way of guidance on the needs of students, and it does not reflect or assess what students are actually learning on a day-to-day basis in class. In addition, the MAP assessment is being used as part of the teacher evaluation system, which runs contrary to the intention and design of the test.
While we have chosen to administer the MAP test to our students at Dearborn Park this winter, we do not want you or others to assume that this means that we support the use of this test or, more importantly, the ways in which it is being utilized to evaluate students and their teachers. Additionally, we stand in opposition to any measures to punish or retaliate against the teachers at Garfield, Orca K-8, or any of the other schools that have joined the boycott. As you well know, teachers have many responsibilities in their jobs, but none higher than the duty to speak out and advocate for their students. The Garfield teachers took a brave and important step when they decided to call attention to the ways in which standardized testing has come to damage our students’ education. Instead of punishing teachers who speak up, you should be working with them to restore some sanity to our educational system.
17 teachers and staff members
Dearborn Park Elementary School