Framingham Teachers Association Solidarity Resolution

The Executive Board
Framingham Teachers Association
1253 Worcester Road #102
Framingham, MA 01701
508.626.1304

Seattle Education Association
5501 4th Ave S. Suite 101
Seattle, WA 98108

We, the Executive Board of the Framingham Teachers Association, stand in support of the Seattle public school teachers who are refusing to give the MAP test for the reason that it harms student learning. Our nation’s obsession with standardized testing is creating schools where students and teachers are having their creativity and love of learning crushed under a blind rush to improve scores. Teachers must take a stand to protect their students’ right to have a learning environment that promotes the development of the all of their talents and capacities not just one that has a narrow focus on improving standardized test scores.

The Framingham Teachers Association Executive Board voted this resolution unanimously.

cc: Massachusetts Teachers Association
Washington Education Association
National Education Association

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Frederick County Teachers Association Solidarity Resolution

Frederick County Teachers Association

RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF SEATTLE TEACHERS- February 7th, 2013

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.

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, sciences, social studies, and other valuable content areas, and more time on tested subjects.

WHEREAS: RESEARCH DOES NOT SUPPORT USING RESULTS FROM STANDARDIZED TESTS TO EVALUATE TEACHERS. Research shows that nearly 90% of variability in standardized test results is attributable to factors other than the teacher. So-called “value-added” models for teacher evaluation have a large 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 in the Seattle Public Schools, yet the testing 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 High School 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 Frederick County Teachers Association supports the staff at Garfield High School in Seattle and other Seattle Public Schools who voted unanimously to refuse to administer the state’s Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) test.

FURTHER RESOLVED: We pledge $100 to the MAP Boycott Solidarity Fund.

Donate to the Solidarity Fund

We are happy to announce that a solidarity fund has been set up.  The funds will go directly to participating teachers who will use them to build the campaign and, if it becomes necessary, assist teachers if they receive discipline from  Seattle Public Schools.

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MEDIA ADVISORY UPDATE– WINTER MAP TEST WINDOW EXTENDED–GARFIELD STUDENTS OPT OUT OF MAP

–MEDIA ADVISORY UPDATE–
WINTER MAP TEST WINDOW EXTENDED–GARFIELD STUDENTS OPT OUT OF MAP
Contact: Jesse Hagopian, Teacher Garfield High School, hagopian.jesse@gmail.com
Superintendent Banda has promised “consequences,” Garfield teachers have promised quality education.
Winter testing window is extended–Garfield teachers could now face unjust disciplinary measures from the school district, starting Friday, March 1st.
Mass resistance to the MAP test leads to overwhelming numbers of parents and students opting out of the test
Movement for quality assessment gains momentum nationally
—–
What: The Seattle School District attempted to evade the unanimous vote against the MAP test by the organizations representing Garfield High School’s students, parents, and teachers when they forced the school administration to pull students out of class to take the test.
As Garfield High School reading teacher Mallory Clarke said, “The results of the District’s top-down mandates were twofold: First, our computer labs were unavailable for student use during the MAP test time. Second, it further united the Garfield community against the MAP test.”  Clarke added, “What they didn’t achieve was any substantial number of students taking the test.”
As Chris McBride, Garfield’s Academic Dean and Testing Coordinator, reported, “The District’s goal of getting students to take the MAP test was overwhelmingly unmet.”
Even with the overt intimidation of the school district towards the administration, students and teachers at Garfield, McBride says, “Of the over 800 MAP tests that were supposed to be administered at Garfield during the winter testing window, only around 180 valid tests were administered—further demonstrating the unity of the Garfield community in the pursuit of quality assessment.”
Break down of MAP testing numbers at Garfield:
  • For the winter round of MAP testing there were 810 tests originally scheduled.  This is NOT the number of students who took the test – keep in mind that some students were to take 1 test and others were scheduled to take 2 tests.
  • At the end of the testing window there were 184 completed tests, 124 in reading and 60 in math.  Again, this is not necessarily the number of students who completed tests.
  • There were 104 invalid tests, 69 in reading and 35 in math.  This generally means that the students just clicked random buttons on the computer and finished the test too quickly for the results to be considered valid.
  • There were 273 opt out notices.  Some of those students who were opted out were scheduled to take 1 test, and some were scheduled to have 2 tests.
  • There were 170 incidences of refusal.  This means that a student either refused to come to the computer lab for testing or they refused to take the test once they were at the computer.  Some students walked out after logging in, for example.  Again, the 170 is the number of tests, not students.
  • Just to be clear, if you examine the numbers and think that they “don’t add up”, it is because  some of the numbers deal with number of TESTS but the opt out information is for the numbers of individual STUDENTS.

What: While MAP testing is done at Garfield (largely due to the large numbers of students who opted out of the test), according to media sources, the Seattle School District granted a one-week extension for map testing.  This means that Friday, March 1st is the new final day of the winter testing window in the Seattle Public Schools.  This is now the day that the superintendent could label Garfield teachers–and other teachers from schools boycotting the test–as insubordinate. He verbally told Garfield teachers that he would not suspend them for 10 days without pay, as originally threatened, but teachers haven’t received anything in writing nullifying those egregious charges, as we requested.  Superintendent Banda also promised to Garfield teachers in a closed door meeting that, “There will be consequences” given to Garfield teachers.
Garfield math teacher Jessica Griffin said of these threats, “It’s disheartening that the District would threaten teachers who are trying to stand up for better education opportunities for their students.”
Kit McCormick, Garfield LA teacher added, “These threats of reprimand by the district have not threatened the resolve of the Garfield teachers, or teachers around the city who are boycotting the MAP test.”
Garfield history teacher Jesse Hagopian said, “Teachers who are insubordinate against and unfair test are obedient to educational justice.”  Hagopian added, “If they follow through with these threats to teacher’s livelihoods, people around the world will rally to support Garfield.”
Garfield teachers maintain they should not receive any disciplinary measures because:
1) The students, parents, and teacher organizations at Garfield have all voted unanimously against the MAP–the Seattle School District should respect the unanimous voice of the education community they serve.  (The teachers’ statement against the MAP is here).

2) When Garfield teachers refused to give the MAP, The Seattle School District pressured the Garfield administration to pull students out of class and make them take the test.  That means that the test was administered–although the percentage of students who took the test was minuscule as hundreds of parents opted their students out of the test and hundreds of students refused to take it.

Justice Party of Washington State Solidarity Statement

Dear Seattle teachers,

Thank you for refusing to administer the MAP test. You are to be applauded for having the courage to take a stand against the fixation on high-stakes testing and its harmful impact on students.

The Justice Party of Washington State supports the rights of students to receive a high-quality public education. They deserve it, and this heavy emphasis on repeated testing is not making a contribution to that end. Budget cuts at the state and local level have been going on so long, even the Washington State Supreme Court had to step in to remind legislators of their constitutional obligations.

Instead, hard-working teachers have been blamed for the problems of our school system while useless testing has been consuming scarce funds as if more testing offers some sort of universal panacea. Meanwhile, cuts continue to produce a narrowed curriculum that has deprived our students of art, music, gym and other subjects that enrich their minds. We don’t have to tell you that teachers are forced to spend too much time on test preparation and data collection, for a test that is virtually useless as a diagnostic tool, at the expense of actually doing the job they were hired to do.

Your actions have opened a national conversation on the impact of high-stakes testing. No one would argue that appropriate assessments are a legitimate part of a high-quality education. But an accountability system obsessed with useless measurements has nothing to do with student advancement. Genuine teaching and learning should drive classroom instruction. We need to be focused on developing creative and analytical thinking, skills which are not easily converted to a paper and pencil standardized test.

We are in complete agreement with you on your statement, which reads in part, “…the MAP test is not good for our students, nor is it an appropriate or useful tool in measuring progress…It produces specious results, and wreaks havoc on limited school resources during the weeks the test is administered.” In addition, we are completely opposed to the threats that have been issued against you, and are in solidarity with your courageous action.

Originally posted at the Justice Party WA website.

No Struggle, No Progress — Should MAP test boycotters be punished or praised?

No Struggle, No Progress — Should MAP test boycotters be punished or praised?.

Tomorrow, Friday, February 22nd is a big day for the national movement against high stakes standardized testing. That’s when the window for administering the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test expires for Seattle public schools.

 

Schools usually have a “window” of dates during which they can administer standardized tests. The window allows administrators to schedule make-up test sessions for students who are absent, for example.

 

Technically speaking, the brave teachers in Seattle who have decided to boycott the MAP test this year have not officially done so until the window for administering the test has closed.

 

Tomorrow, all of those teachers will officially be insubordinate. At that point, the superintendent, José Banda will have to make a decision about whether or not to punish the teachers who have boycotted the test.

 

Banda has an opportunity here to write his name in history next to those of the teachers. If he chooses to honor their integrity and courage, he will be hailed as a hero and visionary by parents, teachers and students nationwide.

 

The original threat that was widely reported in the media — 10 days suspension without pay — was withdrawn verbally, but not in writing.

 

Unfortunately, Banda has maintained the stance that “there will be consequences” for the boycotting teachers.

 

Either way, Friday, February 22nd will be an important date for the national movement against high stakes standardized testing.

 

Now would be a perfect time to let the superintendent Banda know that you think these teachers should be praised, not punished. Call his office, or send him an email:

 

José Banda, Superintendent

Phone: (206) 252-0180

Email: superintendent@seattleschools.org

 

Not sure what exactly to say? Here are some ideas that were sent to me by a Garfield High School teacher.

THREE REASONS GARFIELD & SEATTLE TEACHERS SHOULD NOT BE PUNISHED:

 

1) Teachers who are insubordinate against an unfair test are obedient to educational justice!

2) The students, parents, and teacher organizations at Garfield have all voted unanimously against the MAP—the Seattle School District should respect the unanimous voice of the education community they serve.

3) When Garfield teachers refused to give the MAP, the Seattle School District pressured the Garfield administration to pull students out of class and make them take the test.  That means that technically the test was administered — although the percentage of students who took the test was minuscule as hundreds of parents opted their students out of the test and hundreds of students refused to take it.