Scrap the MAP. The power of no.

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We received news yesterday that the Seattle school district has agreed to scrap the MAP test next year.

It s a powerful win for common sense.

Teachers at Seattle’s Garfield High School made national news earlier this year when they refused to administer the MAP test.

The Seattle Times reports:

The protesting teachers, who number in the hundreds at six different schools, say the MAP tests have little value for them or their students, monopolize school libraries and computer labs for weeks, and aren’t closely tied to what they’re supposed to be teaching.

The majority stress that they’re not against testing per se, just the MAP.

Parents and students joined in, and 600 students did not take the MAP because they or their parents asked that they be excused. Spring testing is still under way.

Despite the protest, schools are still giving the tests by using administrators or parents or others to proctor the exams.

Students from kindergarten through ninth grade in Seattle have been taking the MAP reading and math tests two to three times a year for four to five years, depending on the school.

The action by teachers acting as professionals provides a lesson.

Often doing the right thing means using the power of no.

 

A retired teacher supports the faculty at Garfield High School in Seattle. Wearing red today.

I now have quite a collection of red shirts to wear in support of public education.

I used to wear one every Tuesday.

But now I’m retired. And today we are being asked to wear read in support of the teachers at Garfield High School. They put the interests of their students first and have refused to waste precious instructional and class time on the MAP test.

I won’t be wearing red today to school. But I’ll be wearing red just the same.

CTU VP and family opt out of CPS high stakes testing.

CTU web site.

Joenile S. Albert-Reese
AN Pritzker School
2009 W. Schiller Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622

January 15, 2013 

Dear Dr. Reese, 

We are writing to inform you that we are exercising our right to exempt our children from all non-state mandated tests for the current school year. This includes, but is not limited to: NWEA/MAP, REACH, DIBELS, and mCLASS. In addition, please do not place the grades, ISAT scores, or results of previous standardized tests of either of our children on display in the classroom, hallway, or other public place.

During whole class standardized testing we understand that our children will be provided with appropriate accommodations in order to engage in quiet, self-guided activity like silent reading, drawing, writing, or other appropriate activities so as to not disrupt the classroom in any way. 

We do not take this decision lightly given the high stakes attached to performance on these tests for everyone involved-our children, our school, and our teachers. Unfortunately we do not believe these tests to be in the best interests of our children’s education and cannot continue to allow them to participate.

We have become alarmed at the incredible increase in high stakes standardized testing at CPS. This year our kindergartener is scheduled to take fourteen standardized tests. Our fourth grader is scheduled for twenty-four tests, including the ISAT, which is spread over 8 sessions, and REACH assessments in PE, library, music and Spanish. It’s simply too much, and too much of a drain on scarce resources at our schools. 

These tests carry significant consequences for students, teachers and schools, and we see the effects of this. The curriculum becomes narrowed to cover what is on the tests. Teachers and students become stressed and demoralized. Ceaseless testing is driving out creativity, curiosity, and independent thinking.

We note that elite private schools have no use for standardized tests of any kind. They trust their teachers to assess students’ progress with authentic, multiple measures and intense attention given to each student. We are concerned that CPS is going in the opposite direction-towards larger classes with more standardized testing.  We also do not support a competitive culture around testing where prizes are given for results or students’ scores are posted in public (a clear violation of their privacy). 

We look forward to the time when our schools can nurture the natural inquisitiveness and love of learning all children should have instead of seeing them as data points on charts and spreadsheets. We are proud, grateful members of the Pritzker community. We look forward to many years of working together to improve our children’s education.

We are happy to discuss this matter further. 

Sincerely,
Julie Fain and Jesse Sharkey

 

The in box. National call-in to Scrap the MAP.

GET READY! THIS WEDNESDAY, January 30 is a national call/phone/fax day to tell Seattle Public Schools that you, your organization and your union stand with the teachers in the MAP test boycott. Send your message to Seattle Schools Superintendent José Banda:

Phone: (206) 252-0180
Fax: (206) 252-0209
Email: superintendent@seattleschools.org

If you send an email, share it with us here in the comments!

Next week, WEDNESDAY, February 6 will be a National Day in Solidarity with the Seattle Test Boycott. This can be an opportunity to gather petitions, pass resolutions and take solidarity photos that, again, can sent to http://scrapthemap.wordpress.com/.  Other possible solidarity activities could include a press release or press conference outside your local school district office with parent/teacher/community groups. If you are near the offices of one of the corporate education “reform” groups or education profiteers like test publishers, you can have a press conference or picket line.

Email us at scrapthemap@yahoo.com or use the “Contact Us” link to tell us about your plans!

Chief Sealth High School’s resolution on the MAP test.

Seattle Education blog:

Chief Sealth High School teachers just issued the following resolution:

Whereas, the students, parents, teachers & staff find the MAP test to be negatively costly in the amount of educational time, money and resources required for its administration;

Whereas, the Seattle Public Schools and its teachers already administer the HSPE, the End of Course exams, the DAPE, in addition to the many classroom-based assessments and placement tests in subject areas;

Whereas, we as educators are committed to eliminating the achievement gap and believe the expenditure of resources on the MAP would be more appropriately and effectively used in direct instruction and support of students;

Whereas, the MAP test is not a useful tool to inform instruction of secondary school students;

Whereas, the MAP test is not connected to our curricula;

Whereas, the MAP test has been re-purposed by district administration to form part of a teacher’s evaluation, which is contrary to the purposes it was designed for, as stated by its purveyor;

Whereas, the MAP test has also been re-purposed for student placement in courses and programs, for which it was not designed;

Whereas, the technology administration of the MAP test has serious flaws district wide, which wastes student’s time and makes them feel disrespected;

Whereas, the MAP test’s reported testing errors are greater than students’ expected growth;

Whereas, the MAP test is not taken seriously by students, and test scores are often wildly inconsistent, rendering them useless;

Whereas, the MAP test was purchased under circumstances that represented a conflict of interest (our former superintendent, while employed by Seattle Public Schools sat on the board of the NWEA, the purveyor of the MAP test, when the contract was signed. This was undisclosed to her employer.);

Whereas, the MAP test was and remains unwanted, unneeded and unsolicited by SPS professional classroom educators, those who work directly with students;

Be it resolved that we, the undersigned educators from Chief Sealth International High School do hereby support statements and actions of our colleagues at Garfield High School regarding the MAP test. Furthermore, we join our colleagues in their boycott and refuse to administer the MAP test to students at Chief Sealth International High School.

We join them in this stand in the interest of developing quality assessments that truly measure the education of our students over the long term; tests that are developed by teachers or with the input of teachers, are rigorous, fair, produce useful data and are respectful of all of our students.  We believe the MAP test program throughout the Seattle Public Schools ought to be eliminated immediately. It has been and continues to be counterproductive and an embarrassing mistake that breeds widespread student, staff and parent resentment;

Be it further resolved that we call on the Seattle Public Schools to include educators and the community in all future decisions regarding standardized testing and assessments.