To Test or Not to Test: Standardized Testing in Our Public Schools

ALL OUT for panel discussion/debate at Seattle’s Town Hall:
To Test or Not to Test: Standardized Testing in Our Public Schools.
The discussion happens upstairs in the Great Hall beginning at 7:30 p.m.
In the wild wake of last spring’s successful boycott of the Measures of Academic Progress Test – “the Map Test” – by Seattle public school teachers, and now with school districts throughout the region continuing to insist that teacher evaluations be partially tied to student test scores, Town Hall Seattle presents a public forum on the topic: 
 
To Test or Not to Test: Standardized Testing in Our Public Schools.
 
Please join the discussion on Tuesday evening, September 17, when four panelists representing a spectrum of opinions will make arguments for or against standardized testing, and then take questions from the public (that would be you).
 
Find out where standardized tests came from – a sordid history  and where they might be headed. Who supports them, and why? What makes some so opposed to these bubble tests? What, if anything, do these “instruments” accurately measure? How do our children benefit from such evaluations? How do education “reformers” use standardized test results to replace public schools with privatized charter schools? And could this happen here?
 
During this last school year, teachers from Seattle’s Garfield High School stood up to district managers and refused  without a single dissent among its faculty  to give their students the MAP test. Their boycott spread first to other schools in Seattle, and then quickly inspired teachers, parents and students across the country, and eventually across the globe, to take creative stands against the onslaught of standardized tests.
 
Nevertheless, the advocate of school “reform” continue to lobby for more bubble testing. Washington State spends more on such tests than any other state: $100 million annually. It seems clear the two sides are on a collision course. And the first of these face-to-face run-ins will be at Town Hall.
 
This event should be a Serious Intellectual Brawl. We need you there.
The panelists include:
 
• Jason Mendenhall, currently works for the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), the  Portland, Oregon, company that designs and sells the MAP Test. During his tenure at NWEA, Jason has been Director of Supplemental Educational Programs, Director of Product Strategy, and Director of Strategic Implementation. Jason has eight years experience as a secondary and post-secondary educator.
 
• Chris Eide, Executive Director of Teachers United, a collection of Washington teachers generally supportive of standardized testing and funded by a $650,00 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He has taught in Seattle Public Schools, as well as in New York City and Houston.
 
• Wayne Au, associate professor of education from the University of Washington and an editor of Rethinking Schools, a social-justice magazine and publisher steadfastly opposed to standardized testing, as well as to the current education “reform” movement that promotes such tests. Wayne is a leading expert on the subject of standardized testing and is the author of Unequal By Design: The Standardization of Inequality, Pencils Down: Rethinking High Stakes Testing and Accountability in Public Schools.
 
• Sandra Brettler, an award-winning, National Board-Certified teacher at Thornton Creek Elementary in northeast Seattle. She earned a Ph.D in neuroscience with a focus on understanding how the brain integrates information and encodes learning. Sandra boycotted the Map-test last year with her colleagues at Thornton Creek.  As an elementary school teacher, she will be asked by Seattle Public Schools to administer the exam to her students this year. (Only high-school students were exempted from giving the MAP test by the district, in response to the teacher-led boycott.)
 
• Dean Paton, Seattle correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor and a longtime education reporter, is host and moderator. As a young reporter, he also worked as the Associated Press boxing writer in Seattle, which may come in handy at this event.
 
Please forward this announcement to your friends, and then join us for this urgent public debate. Notch your calendar now.
 
Tickets are $5 at the door or $6.16 online, in advance, at the Town Hall website. Get more details about the event here as well: http://townhallseattle.org/panel-discussionstandardized-testing-in-our-public-schools/

The discussion happens upstairs in the Great Hall beginning at 7:30 p.m. and concludes by 9. Enter on 8th Avenue.
 
Town Hall’s address is 1119 8th Avenue at Seneca Street, Seattle, 98101. Telephone 206-652-4255. Metro’s Number 2 bus serves the hall directly.