NEA celebrates Seattle educators’ win against mismatched tests

NEA president comments about brave educators who risked it all for their students

WASHINGTON – May 16, 2013 – A mismatched standardized test administered in Washington state that sparked local boycotts involving educators, parents, and students and intensified the national spotlight on the need for high quality assessments is no longer mandatory in Seattle-area high schools after this spring.

Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Jose Banda announced the district’s decision regarding the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test yesterday in a letter to school administrators.

In the letter, Banda states high schools can decide not to administer the test.

“We hope this important victory will send a message that tests should reflect what students are actually learning,” said National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel. “We applaud the Seattle Public Schools district for making the right decision for students and celebrate the brave educators who raised the issue.”

The boycott of the test drew national coverage as many districts and states struggle to effectively assess student achievement.

“These brave teachers knew the MAP test wasn’t the best tool to track high school students’ progress in this instance, and they fought hard to get heard. Now the district and its educators can join forces to implement assessments that work for all involved: students, teachers, and parents,” said Van Roekel.

See coverage of the Seattle testing boycott here. Join the conversation on Twitter using #scrapthemap and #EducationSpring.

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Sara Robertson (202) 822-7823,

May Day Solidarity: School of Rebellion, Melbourne, Australia

To the Teachers leading the “Scrap the MAP” Boycott,

On behalf of The School of Rebellion in Melbourne, Australia I am writing to extend our solidarity to the teachers of Seattle fighting against the beast that is standardised testing. Here in Australia we know all to well about the detrimental effects that standardised testing and teaching to the test has our students education and our working conditions.

Please find photos from our recent May Day rally attached taken in solidarity and support with the Seattle Teachers leading the way in the boycott of standardised testing.

Maddy McLean
School of Rebellion
Socialist Alternative, Australia

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May Day Solidarity: Trinational Coalition to Defend Public Education

English translation below

¡Seattle a Chicago a Guerrero; Filadelfia a Oaxaca; Nueva York a Michoacán. Misma Lucha, Misma Pelea!

Enviamos un saludo de solidaridad a;

Los maestros de Seattle que desde enero han negado con valentía a administrar medidas de rendimiento académico (MAP) prueba normalizado-exámenes de su distrito escolar sin valor conocido que acentuar la rutina, la memorización y la obediencia de los estudiantes; para posicionarse y penalizar a las escuelas, alumnos y profesores; y usar como excusa para acosar a maestros y cierre de escuelas.

Los estudiantes de Chicago que la semana pasada hicieron huelga en la prueba estandarizada de su distrito escolar para protestar por el cierre planeado de 54 escuelas así como protestar por las propias pruebas. Estos jóvenes brillantes directamente relacionaron el cierre escolar con la prueba de puestas elevadas cuyos resultados están siendo utilizados en todo el país como la excusa para cerrar las escuelas de las comunidades de bajos ingresos– golpea especialmente a las comunidades Afro-Americanas y Latinas. (Filadelfia esta por cerrar 23 escuelas; La Ciudad de Nueva York cerraron 140 escuelas y planean cerrar 23 más; Washington DC han cerrado 24 escuelas y planean cerrar otras 15; Kansas City cerró más de la mitad de sus escuelas públicas, etc.)

Los maestros de Chicago y la comunidad de asistencia masiva, militancia y apoyo a la huelga del otoño pasado por el Sindicato de profesores Chicago que ha inspirado a los defensores de la educación pública en el país.

La lucha en curso y monumental de maestros mexicanos a defender el derecho de todos los ciudadanos a una educación pública y derechos básicos de la unión de profesores – derechos garantizados por la Constitución mexicana–contra la educación nacional “reformas” que impondría la misma fórmula que lleva a cabo por los profesores de Seattle y los estudiantes de Chicago: atar empleos de docentes en los puntajes de los estudiantes en las pruebas estandarizadas, adoptar nuevos currículos dictadas por grandes corporaciones, desalentar la obediencia crítica de pensamiento y de la demanda. Maestros en el estado de Guerrero han estado en huelga durante más de dos meses a pesar de que la milicia ha sido traída; la lucha se ha extendido a los Estados de Michoacán, Oaxaca y Chiapas.


Seattle to Chicago to Guerrero; Philadelphia to Oaxaca; New York to Michoacan – Same struggle, same fight!

May Day, May 1, is the international workers’ holiday. On this May Day, we salute the struggles of teachers, students, parents, and communities around the world to defend public education from assaults demanded by banks, corporations, and billionaires and all too often executed by governments. These heroic struggles around the world are too numerous to list here, so although we only mention a few in this solidarity message, we stand in solidarity with them all.

We send solidarity greetings to:

The Seattle teachers who since January have courageously refused to administer their school district’s Measures of Academic Performance (MAP) standardized tests — exams with no known value other than to emphasize routine, rote learning and obedience from students; to rank and penalize schools, students and teachers; and to use as an excuse for harassing teachers and closing schools.

The Chicago students who last week walked out on their school district’s standardized tests to protest the planned closure of 54 schools as well as to protest the tests themselves. These brilliant young people directly linked the school shutdowns with the high stakes tests whose outcomes are being used around the country as the excuse to close schools in low-income communities — hitting especially hard at black and brown communities. (Philadelphia is closing 23 schools; New York City closed 140 schools and plans to close 23 more; Washington DC closed 24 schools and plans to close another 15; Kansas City closed more than half its public schools; etc.)

The Chicago teachers and community for the massive turnout, militancy, and support for last fall’s strike by the Chicago Teachers Union that has inspired public education advocates around the country;

The ongoing and monumental struggle of Mexican teachers to defend the right of all citizens to a public education and basic teacher union rights — rights guaranteed by the Mexican Constitution — against national education “reforms” that would impose the same formula being fought by the Seattle teachers and the Chicago students: tie teachers’ jobs to student scores on standardized tests, adopt new curricula dictated by powerful corporations, discourage critical thinking and demand obedience. Teachers in the state of Guerrero have been on strike for over two months even though the militia has been brought in; the struggle has spread to the states of Michoacan, Oaxaca, and Chiapas.

Seattle to Chicago to Guerrero; Philadelphia to Oaxaca; New York to Michoacan – Same struggle, same fight!