I received the following email from a teacher at Garfield High School in Seattle, where nearly all of the teachers are refusing to give students mandated standardized district tests called the Measures of Academy Progress.
The Garfield teachers say the tests are flawed and don’t evaluate learning. After their boycott was publicized last week, teachers at a second Seattle school, Ballard High, joined in. You can read my post about that here.
One of the reasons that there is growing opposition to high-stakes standardized tests is that increasingly states are requiring districts to evaluate teachers based on the test scores of their students, an assessment method that experts say is unreliable.
Jerry Neufeld-Kaiser, a social studies teacher at Garfield, wrote the following email to me to explain her position about the boycott and standardized testing. Anybody who thinks the teachers did not give this serious thought or are trying to avoid being evaluated should read this.
Hi Ms. Strauss,
I’m a teacher at Garfield, and would like to offer some thoughts on what I think this MAP test refusal should lead to. First, thank you for your coverage of the announcement the other day. I’m heartened to see that the media are taking our resolution and our complaint seriously, and to see national media coverage confirms my judgment that this issue matters.
At the press conference, the teachers who spoke were careful to stress that this is about the MAP test’s flaws, and that we teachers are not afraid to be evaluated and not afraid of testing our students. I’d like to elaborate on that.