Mukilteo Education Association Solidarity Resolution

We,the members of the Mukilteo Education Association Representative Council, by a unanimous vote do hereby declare our support of the Garfield High School Teachers in their rejection of the administration of the MAP test. The MAP test has flaws as a student assessment tool, is not recommended by the publisher as a tool for teacher evaluations, and is therefore unsuitable for the purposes for which it is being used by the District.

The gains which high school students are expected to make on the test are within the margin of error of the test grading, thus the MAP test uses valuable instruction time and financial resources for a test that is statistically useless.

While we understand that the teacher’s collective bargaining agreement may allow the use of scores as part of teacher evaluation, the quality of the test must match the level of expertise that teachers themselves strive to attain. The MAP test was not designed to determine student mastery of content, but rather to measure and provide information to teachers on the instructional level of students. Using information that is only meant to be instructionally relevant as a measurement of teacher competency is unfair and unjust.

We believe that teachers must take a stand to protect their students’ right to have a learning environment that promotes the development of all of their talents and capacities, not just one that has a narrow focus based on test scores without benefit to student or teacher.

We applaud and support the teachers of Garfield High School in their stand to protect the integrity of the teaching profession and maintain the highest standards of the educational experience for its students.

The Mukilteo Education Association Representative Council
January 23, 2013

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MEDIA ADVISORY Seattle Teachers Respond to Spring MAP Test: Boycott Grows Bigger

New Message: Don’t Renew MAP Contract

Press Conference Called for Monday, April 29th, at 4:30 pm at the Garfield Community Center (Corner of 23rd and Cherry)

All boycotting schools—including new additions—will have a representative at the press conference to answer questions.

Teachers are again refusing to subject their students to this particularly pernicious test. The Spring “testing window” is now open and schools across the district are slated for a third time this year to take students out of classrooms to spend hours in front of computers taking a test that the Seattle School District itself has said “has problems” and is invalid (expected point gains on scores are smaller than the margin of error). “The test has not been improved since winter,” said Mallory Clarke, a Garfield reading teacher. “It wasn’t ethical to give the test then, and the test hasn’t gotten any more ethical since.”

The contract for the MAP test with the NWEA (the maker of the MAP test) expires this spring. The Seattle School District would have to buy the MAP test again this year if they wanted to administer the test next year. The teachers are calling for Superintendent Banda to decline to renew the MAP contract with NWEA. Garfield LA teacher Kit McCormick said, “It’s impossible to sit by and watch the District pay the huge price tag for this poorly constructed test, knowing how many crucial line items we had to give up to run our school. We can’t afford supplies for our classrooms or needed support programs for the students, so why are we spending money on this scandalous boondoggle?”

Not only are the same half dozen schools that boycotted previously still committed to this courageous stand, but more schools have joined the MAP test boycott and will be announcing their intention to refuse to administer the spring MAP test at the press conference. Garfield history teacher Jesse Hagopian said, “Our movement for quality assessment is becoming an ‘educators’ spring’ uprising. New elementary and high schools in Seattle are joining the movement here in Seattle. Hundreds of teachers from around the state just voted overwhelming to support the continuing MAP test boycott at the Washington Education Association’s end of April Representative Assembly. In Chicago hundreds of students walked out of school to protest their own high stakes test. In New York thousands of parents have opted their children out of a standardized test—and this is all just in the last week.”

The District responded to the winter boycott with a Task Force on Assessment. While teachers had hopes that this group would help fix the broken assessment system in Seattle Schools, it appears to be a relatively powerless group undemocratically run and undemocratically chosen with only 5 classroom teachers on a committee of 30. Many fear the group is designed to rubber stamp district decisions.

In response, teachers from around Seattle formed their own committee, the Teacher Work Group on Assessment. The Teacher Work Group on Assessment has been meeting to discuss research and send recommendations to the district Task Force. The final report of that group will be presented at the press conference. From the report, “Teachers recoil at the false notions that standardized tests are legitimate measures of student academic and thinking skill, that standardized tests take precedent over instructional time, that standardized tests effectively assess teacher quality—in short, that standardized testing based education is effective education. It is not, and we as teachers stand firm in our refusal to embrace anything that takes our focus away from effective teaching.”

On May 1st—May Day, international workers day—not only will support continue from the thousands of teachers and hundreds of education organizations nationally who have supported this boycott in the past, but teachers and organizations from other countries will participate in an International Day of Solidarity with the Seattle MAP Test Boycott. Details and names of international groups will be available at the press conference.

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Educational Justice Has No Borders: Join the May Day International Day of Solidarity with the Seattle MAP Test Boycott

Educational Justice Has No Borders:
Join the May Day International Day of Solidarity
with the Seattle MAP Test Boycott

RSVP on Facebook

Seattle’s test boycotting teachers need your support for an “educators’ spring” uprising against the MAP test

Dear educators, parents, and students around the world,

On January 9, 2013, teachers at Garfield High School in Seattle announced their unanimous vote to boycott the district mandated Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test, which they said was not aligned to their curriculum, was a waste of their students’ time and resources, and unfairly targeted the most vulnerable populations. Specifically, Garfield’s teachers expressed their opposition to the fact that English Language Learner students are required to take the MAP test most often, causing them to miss out on vital instructional time in the classroom. In this way, the boycott of the MAP test should be viewed as part of the movement for the rights of immigrants and people from all cultures, nationalities, and linguistic backgrounds to have access to a high quality public education. Garfield High School’s Parent Teacher Student Association and the Associated Student Body Government both voted unanimously to support the teachers’ boycott of the MAP test.

Soon after, several other Seattle schools joined the boycott—Orca, Chief Sealth, Ballard, and Center School. Teachers at those schools were originally threatened with a 10 day suspension without pay, but because of the overwhelming solidarity from parents, teachers, and students from across the country, the Seattle School District backed down and declined to discipline any of the boycotting educators. Since then, several other schools have joined the boycott, a survey of Seattle teachers was conducted that shows overwhelming opposition to the MAP test at every grade level, and the movement for quality assessment has spread throughout the nation.

Now the Seattle teachers need your support again.

The spring offering of the MAP test produces the scores that are supposed to be used in Seattle’s teacher evaluations. For this reason the Seattle School District could take a harsher stance against boycotting teachers this time around.

May Day is traditionally a day of international workers solidarity. What better time to show your support for the teachers who have risked their livelihoods to advocate for quality assessment and for our resources to be used to support learning rather than endless testing?

We, the Seattle MAP test boycotting teachers, pledge our solidarity to teachers around the world who are struggling for an education system that supports and empowers our students with curriculum and assessments that are relevant to their lives. In turn, we ask for your support as we struggle for these very goals.

Possible solidarity actions include: wearing red and taking a photo with a message of solidarity and emailing it to us (scrapthemap@yahoo.com), calling the Seattle superintendent and asking him to cancel the contract with the NWEA for the MAP test, having a speaker at your May Day rally address the MAP boycott and the abuses of standardized testing, or boycotting a flawed test in your region.

Furthermore, we, the MAP test boycotting teachers, would very much appreciate being informed about struggles teachers are engaged in around the world. Please let us know if there are any ways we can support your efforts for educational justice.

In solidarity,

Seattle MAP Test Boycott Committee

IU Strike School of Education Statement on K-12 standardized testing

IU on Strike! | IU Strike School of Education Statement on K-12 standardized testing.

“We should be very worried that schools are increasingly being run as businesses. Desires for efficiency and profit have spurred austerity measures, inflated tuition and student debt, and spread the practice of standardized testing throughout the education system.

 

We are through with being seen as scores on a test, as consumers, and as products.

 

As the children of No Child Left Behind we can testify to the inefficacy of standardized tests. Repeated research shows that it is economic status which most greatly impacts how well a student will score on standardized tests, yet the drive for testing continues to assault schools, teachers, and students—at great costs. Standardized testing is a product of a logic of “efficiency” that is inherently contradictory to meaningful education. Moreover, it has been used as a tool to control teachers, constrict creative pedagogy, and to further repress already marginalized populations.

 

Meaningless standards and scores on tests determined in great part which of us are granted the right to attend institutions of higher education. High-stakes standardized tests and the high cost of college have produced a status quo which encourages obedience to authority – no matter how wasteful or out-of-touch – not ingenuity and effort.

 

As striking students at Indiana University, we are struggling against the corporatization of our school, lack of diversity on campus, and ever-increasing tuition and fees which are fast making an education here inaccessible to all but the most privileged. As we begin these important conversations here at IU we also recognize their systemic nature. We stand in solidarity with others throughout the nation working to rescue education from those who seek to profit from it. We recognize the bravery and commitment of the teachers, students, and parents in places such as Garfield High School in Seattle and the Project Libertas in Indianapolis, who have taken stands against the absurdities inherent in standardized testing.

 

And so we strike on April 11th and 12th not against our university, but FOR education. We strike to reclaim education from the narrow-minded and greedy. We strike as part of a broader movement to take back what is ours.”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SEATTLE MAP TEST BOYCOTT SPREADS TO THE UK

Contact: Jesse Hagopian, Teacher, Garfield High School
jessedhagopian@gmail.com
206-962-1685

The MAP test boycott by Seattle teachers has inspired teachers, parents, and community members across the country to take a stand for meaningful education for all students. Now, this momentum has spread across the Atlantic. As reported in The Guardian, the largest teachers union in Europe has initiated their own boycott of assessments that fail to improve student learning and take away valuable classroom time.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT), representing teachers in England, Wales, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man, recently passed a motion calling for a boycott of spelling, punctuation and grammar tests for 11-year-olds and a reading check for six-year-olds – assessments that were introduced this year.

Teachers who voted for the motion expressed similar sentiments to those of Seattle teachers participating in the MAP test boycott. Specifically, they argue that the tests leave little time for art, music and books and make children feel like failures. Joan Edwards, a primary teacher from Birmingham, said “We as teachers want a more balanced education for our children. We want children to develop a love of reading, not reading for a test.”

Officers and members of the National Union of Teachers have sent messages of solidarity to the Seattle teachers involved in the boycott. Teachers at Garfield, Ballard, Center School, Chief Sealth, and Orca welcome this new development and support the NUT’s efforts to do what is best for their students.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Assessments in Seattle Not Meeting Teacher, Student Needs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ASSESSMENTS IN SEATTLE NOT MEETING TEACHER, STUDENT NEEDS

Contact: Gerardine Carroll
Tel. 206.851.3220
Email: gerardine@earthlink.net

Grassroots Teacher Group Releases Initial Findings to SPS Assessment Task Force

The research by a group of teachers in Seattle has raised deep concerns about the nature and use of the assessments students in the Seattle Public Schools take. “We read quite a bit about what makes good assessments, and we’ve come up with what we feel is a solid list of criteria that good assessments must meet,” said Mallory Clarke, a teacher at Garfield High School who helped to organize the teacher work group on assessments. “Unfortunately, the vast majority of Seattle’s assessments don’t line up.”

Many of the criteria that the teachers found in their research may seem obvious to some. Adam Gish said, “We have a list of fourteen qualities that assessments should have if they are going to be sound measures of students’ strengths, and if they are going to be useful for instruction and for decision-making. For example, they should incorporate a variety of measures and they should reflect actual knowledge and learning, not test-taking skills. Evidence also suggests that assessments are most useful when they are graded collaboratively by teachers, and include community input.”

When the teachers compared their research-based criteria to the assessments that Seattle Public School students take, they found most assessments to be way off the mark. One teacher, Shawn LeValley, said, “The high school Classroom Based Assessments were fairly strong in terms of meeting the criteria, and so were International Baccalaureate exams. An assessment used to gauge the reading fluency of early elementary students was fairly close as well. But the remainder- an additional twelve tests that SPS students are taking every year- had far more check marks in the ‘does not meet criteria’ column than the ‘does meet criteria’ one.”

Many other states and districts have assessments that demonstrate growth as well as standards achieved, include classroom work, and are educational in and of themselves. Wyoming, for example, uses a “Body of Evidence” assessment which the group studied. “Unfortunately, Seattle’s assessments are generally disconnected from the educational experiences of the student. Many tend to narrow the curriculum, and very few help teachers to meet students’ needs,” said Gerardine Carroll, a humanities teacher at The Center School.

The group sent their initial findings on the criteria for good assessment to the district’s Task Force on Assessment last week, and is sending their reflections on how the current assessments used by the district line up with those criteria today. The thirty-member district task force, which was founded with the stated goal of deepening dialogue around assessment, has only five teachers out of thirty participants. According to several members, the agendas for the task force meeting are pre-set with little opportunity for truly engaging and open dialogue. Teachers are worried that the task force may be intended as a “rubber stamp” for whatever decisions the district already wanted to make.

The MAP test, which a fair number of teachers across the district are refusing to administer because they feel it serves no educational purpose, met not a single one of the group’s criteria. Jesse Hagopian, who has been outspoken in his criticism of the MAP exam, said that, to him, this wasn’t surprising. “We know that the MAP test is a waste of our students’ time and of precious resources. We also see now that as far what quality assessments really should be, the MAP is as far off as the district could get.”

The teachers will be meeting again today – Tuesday, April 2nd – at Garfield High School to continue their research.  Interested teachers should contact Gerardine Carroll for more information about the meetings.