The Garfield High School faculty have received support from big education thinkers all over the nation—including Noam Chomsky and former assistant US Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch—as they stand strong on their boycott of the mandated MAP tests.
Faculty announced earlier this month that they had unanimously voted not to administer the test, citing concerns that the tests take up valuable class time and resources, hog the computer labs and reveal very little about how well the students are learning.
The boycott prompted Seattle School District Superintendent Jose Banda to issue a statement reiterating that teachers are expected to administer the test. He also put pressure on school principals to take “leadership in ensuring the required MAP tests are completed by Feb. 22.”
Garfield Principal Ted Howard tells CDNews that he is staying out of the debate, writing, “this issue is between the Teacher union and the School district.”
Meanwhile, other Seattle schools are starting to join Garfield in the boycott, and educators all over the nation have taken notice of what started at 23rd and Jefferson.
UPDATE: Just in from Seattle Schools: “Seattle Public Schools will host a media briefing with Superintendent José Banda and other district officials regarding the district’s Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) testing.” Wednesday at 3:15 p.m.
Since Garfield teachers announced their boycott nearly two weeks ago, they have been hailed as heroes by those concerned about the overuse and misuse of standardized tests, although the teachers have been careful to say they’re not protesting all tests, just this one.
On Monday, they received a statement of support signed by more than 60 educators and researchers, including well-known authors Jonathan Kozol, Diane Ravitch and Noam Chomsky.
Eleven teachers from ORCA K-8 and dozens of ORCA parents joined the boycott last week, and some teachers at Salmon Bay K-8 may soon do the same. Teachers at a number of other schools have sent letters of support, as have Garfield parents and students, the Seattle Student Senate, and a number of other local and national parent and educator groups.
District officials say the protesting teachers have some misconceptions about the MAP, a set of computer-adaptive exams the district has been using for the past five years to measure math and reading skills.
They say the MAP is a reliable, valuable test that helps teachers track student progress throughout the school year.
There’s a reason why millions of students across the nation are taking MAP tests, said Eric Anderson, the district’s director of research, assessment and evaluation.