Victory for the Garfield teachers and other MAP boycotting schools in in Seattle!!

No teacher will be disciplined!

Superintendent Banda promised that teachers who boycotted the MAP test would be disciplined, but because of the overwhelming solidarity from around the nation, he was forced to back down. In his letter he tries to save face by saying that no test coordinators or teachers in tested subjects boycotted the test–which is just completely false, as just about every teacher at Garfield signed their name to the statement that saying they boycotted the test. I’m not sure how he could even suggest that!

Thanks to everyone who passed a resolution, demonstrated, raised money, emailed or called our Superintendent!

The below e-mail was sent to every educator in Seattle….


From: Banda, Jose L
Sent: Friday, March 29, 2013 10:14 AM
Subject: MAP assessment update

Dear Seattle Public Schools community,

Our community has engaged in a deep discussion during the last two months about the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment, which provides data used for screening and analyzing student achievement and measuring growth over time.

While we know the MAP assessment has its strengths and limitations, it’s important for educators to use a variety of data sources to help inform classroom instruction. For many of our teachers and principals, the MAP assessment provides critical information to help screen our academically at-risk students so we can identify additional supports and provide more personalized attention, as well as measure their academic growth and improvement over time.

The latest testing period wrapped up on Feb. 28, and I wanted to share details of this assessment, as well as provide an update on future testing.

First of all, I want to thank our staff and schools for their ongoing work in administering assessments. I am pleased to report that every school administered the MAP assessment and met the testing deadline. There will be no discipline of any test administrator. Those teachers who publically said they refused to administer the test either did not teach a tested subject, or they were not a test administrator. However, I want to reiterate my hope that in the future we seek to address our concerns and issues in a more constructive manner, in a way that puts our students first.

Overall, nearly 30,000 students in the required grade levels (1st to 9th) completed the MAP assessment during the winter period. We did see a higher than usual number of high school students and families who opted out of taking the test. Districtwide, a total of 459 parents and 133 students opted-out. Of these opt-outs, 265 parents (58% of total) were from two district high schools (Garfield and Ingraham), and 129 students (97% of total) were from one high school (Garfield), A detailed accounting of winter MAP participation can be found here:

I want to thank the members of the Task Force on Assessment and Measuring Progress. This group of principal, teacher, student, family and community representatives has met four times since February and is charged with reviewing District assessment programs, including MAP, and making recommendations for next year and beyond. You can review the meeting minutes and agendas, as well as the names of task force members, here.

The task force is expected to make a recommendation to me in May regarding assessments for the 2013-14 school year.

In the meantime, our spring assessments will be held from April 22 – June 7. Beginning this spring, the District recommends that students enrolled in an Algebra 1 course take the NWEA Algebra End-of-Course (EOC) exam instead of Math 6+ test.

Based on a preliminary review of MAP by staff, we’ve made the following adjustment to our testing policy: For 9th grade, only students below standard based on the state reading assessment will be required to take the MAP reading test. It will be optional for 9th graders who are at or above standard in reading.

Again, I want to thank the teachers and community members for the ongoing dialogue about assessments, and I appreciate the Task Force’s commitment. I am pleased that we have been able to use this issue as an opportunity for us to all work together on a solution that best benefits our students.


José Banda
Seattle Public Schools

Important partial victory against MAP!

From Jesse Hagopian, Garfield High School teacher:
“SPS acknowledged today that the use of the MAP test has been flawed. They won’t yet fully face just how deeply flawed it is, but our movement for quality assessment scored an important victory today–as the Seattle Times reports, SPS is relaxing some of the requirements for MAP testing!
This proves they had not really thought through the use of this test.  Now we hope they actually check out all the of the things we have said are wrong with the test, and drop the test all together.
We are still waiting to hear if they will reprimand us for not administering a test they have now publicly admitted was being administered in a flawed manner.”

United Federation of Teachers Solidarity Statement

Support for Garfield HS teachers, Seattle, Washington

March 5, 2013

WHEREAS, since the passage of No Child Left Behind, American education has been increasingly debilitated by the excessive and inappropriate use of standardized exams; and

WHEREAS, at its 2012 convention, our national union, the American Federation of Teachers, declared that “The current test-and-punish accountability model has seriously damaged public education. We have lost vital parts of the curriculum because they are not subject to testing. Student learning time has been sacrificed in favor of testing and test preparation. Teachers have been led to focus their attention on the students closest to passing the tests, at the expense of developing every student’s full potential. All of this has stifled teachers’ ability to develop all students’ capacity to think deeply, critically and creatively, and has driven many talented teachers from classrooms that desperately need them. This loss has been especially pronounced in the schools and classrooms serving America’s neediest children and students with disabilities, adding further insult to the injury of poverty and other social challenges.”; and

WHEREAS, at its 2012 Representative Assembly, the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) passed a resolution opposing any accountability system reliant on the use of a single assessment as a major part of educational decisions; and

WHEREAS, the use of standardized exams for high stakes decisions about the future of students, teachers and schools is contrary to the professional standards for educational and psychological testing developed by the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the American Psychological Association (APA) and the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME); and

WHEREAS, the Measures of Academic Progress, a time-intensive assessment designed to provide teachers with data they may use to differentiate instruction, not to evaluate classroom teachers as has been unilaterally mandated by the Seattle Department of Education, in contradiction to the guidance and recommendations of its developers; and

WHEREAS, in taking a courageous stand against the excessive use of standardized exams and against the high stakes use of standardized exams, the teachers at Garfield High School in Seattle have brought much needed attention to an issue that is of the utmost concern to all American teachers; therefore; be it therefore

RESOLVED, that the UFT joins with NYSUT and the AFT in support of meaningful assessment aligned with curriculum instead of meaningless standardized testing; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the United Federation of Teachers joins with our national union, the AFT, in supporting the teachers at Garfield High School in Seattle in their stand against the excessive and inappropriate use of standardized exams, and against the current “test and punish” accountability system that misuses standardized exams for high stakes decisions on the future of students, teachers and schools.

CTU Solidarity Resolution

Resolution for the Chicago Teachers Union to Support the Seattle Teachers and the More Than a Score Chicago Petition

Unanimously passed at the Feb. 6 Chicago Teachers Union House of Delegates meeting:

RESOLVED, that the Chicago Teachers Union supports the Seattle teachers’ boycott of the MAP exam. The test robs students of valuable learning time, damages joy of learning and is being improperly used for high-stakes decision-making. The Chicago Teachers Union stands with Seattle teachers in this fight and encourages others to follow their courageous stand.

RESOLVED, that the Chicago Teachers Union supports the efforts of More Than A Score Chicago to petition for an end to standardized testing for preschool to 2nd grade students and to reduce it for 3rd grade and above; to end the use of standardized testing data to evaluate students and educators and close schools; and for Chicago Public Schools to fully disclose the cost, schedule, nature and purpose of all standardized tests.

Video of the vote

Stand Up: The Day the Teachers Said No


Stand Up: The Day the Teachers Said No from Storyline Research & Productions on Vimeo.

This film documents the unanimous decision by teachers and staff at Garfield High School (Seattle, Washington) to refuse to administer one of several required standardized student assessments. It is a local story with national implications concerning the place of teacher’s voices in discussions of quality education.