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.

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