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.