NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING
DONATE TODAY



  January 24, 2013

Seattle Teachers' Boycott of High Stakes Tests Spreads


Educators nationwide support growing Seattle teacher boycott of high stakes tests
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here
   

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter


Understanding info is a powerful thing. Thank you to all of your reporters for making a significant difference. - Nancy SmithEaken
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


transcript

Seattle Teachers' Boycott of High Stakes Tests SpreadsJAISAL NOOR, TRNN: In Seattle a teachers' boycott of high stakes tests is spreading and gaining national support. On January 10, teachers at Garfield High announced that after careful deliberation they had voted unanimously to refuse to administer a high stakes test known as the Measures of Academic Progress, or MAP, to their students.

Garfield history teacher and social justice activist Jesse Hagopian says the boycott has been growing ever since.

JESSE HAGOPIAN: In Seattle we just had the announcement of another school yesterday that joined us, the summer school. They'd already had administered the MAP test for the winter, but they plan on refusing to administer the third iteration of the test this spring. And so we are really encouraged by that.

We also just got a letter from the librarians at scores of schools across Seattle that say they're sick of their library being used as a testing center. Those voices have been added to Orca K-5 where you have several teachers, I think up to 11 now, who are joined with Garfield in boycotting the MAP test. Some teachers at Salmon Bay K-5 who are boycotting the MAP test, and several other schools who have sent in their letters of solidarity. So it's definitely growing across Seattle, and this movement I think has just begun.

NOOR: The teachers, as well as many grassroots education activists, argue that such high stakes tests disrupt student learning, are costly and ineffective, take away valuable instructional time and staff resources, and need to be stopped. Seattle Public Schools Superintendent José Banda did not respond to TRN's interview request but released a statement demanding all teachers administer the tests by February 22. Hagopian says the boycott will continue.

HAGOPIAN: We've heard from the district that they intend to enforce their MAP test policy, and they expect us to administer the test. And they say that Garfield High School has actually disrupted a process that they started where they are reviewing all assessments in Seattle, and they say we need to slow down and wait for this process to unfold.

But you know, Martin Luther King Day was on Monday. And he's an inspiration for our struggle for sure, when he wrote in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail that 'wait' has almost always meant 'never'. And we believe that, and we're not willing to wait.

NOOR: High stakes standardized tests are part of a major Obama administration initiative to rate teachers by their students' test scores. This is an escalation of the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act, which began taking punitive measures against schools for poor student performance. But opposition to such policies is growing. In the past year, dozens of school boards in places like Texas and Florida have passed resolutions calling for an end to high stakes tests. Meanwhile, parents have targeted testing companies like Pearson for profiting off the increased testing, and many have even refused to allow their children to take such tests.

But the current teachers' boycott is likely unprecedented, says education historian and former Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch.

DIANE RAVITCH: I don't know of any district or any school where the entire school has said, we will not give the test. And they said it after a great deal of thought, and they knew exactly what they were doing. And they [knew] that it was bad for the children and the test was being misused, that the test [designers] said that it was being misused. And I think this was a very effective way of calling attention to all the issues that are involved in the misuse of testing.

NOOR: Ravitch recently joined figures like Noam Chomsky, Jonathan Kozol, Chicago Teachers' Union President Karen Lewis, and hundreds of others in signing a letter of support for the boycott.

RAVITCH: I think it's very exciting that an entire staff said they won't do it, because the more people there are who say no the harder it is for any of them to be punished. If one person says no, that person will be fired. If two or three say no they'll be fired. But if the entire staff says no, it's very difficult for anyone to fire the entire staff. And so what ideally should happen is that a lot of schools should say no. Because if there 20 schools or half the district saying no, then the district can't do anything to anyone.

NOOR: The boycott is aiming to gain steam through a Wednesday rally in Seattle. Supporting students, teachers, and parents will demand that teachers taking part in the boycott not be punished for their actions.

Reporting for the Real News, this is Jaisal Noor.

End

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.



Comments

Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

latest stories

People for Bernie Call For Civil Disobedience at the DNC
Trump Policy Will Unravel Traditional Neocons
Donald Trump: The Raw and Naked Face of a System That Showers Speculators with Obscene Riches
Trump's Neo-Fascism Appeals to Victims of Obama/Clinton Economics
Many Sanders Delegates Ready to Fight Over VP Pick
Jill Stein: 'The Politics of Fear has Delivered Everything We Were Afraid Of'
Protests Against Republican Party "War on Women"
Talking Turkey, Kurds and ISIS at the RNC
United States of Amnesia and the Economics of the RNC
The Bought-and-Paid-For Climate Denialism of Mike Pence
Activists to Call for a Clean Energy Future at the DNC
Baltimore Cops React to RNC Sheriff David Clarke and Obama's Call for 'Goodwill and Open Hearts'
Robert Scheer: Neofascist Trump or Corporate Hawk Clinton Are No Choice at All
Ending Tax Dodging by Utilities Can Prompt Clean Energy Transition
Trump Unifies GOP Around Far Right VP Pence, Who Calls for Projecting American Global Strength
Protesters Build Human Wall Around the RNC
Trump and the Enablers of American Authoritarianism (2/2)
Jill Stein: RNC Celebrating the 'Theatre of the Absurd'
Many Sanders Delegates Plan to Fight on DNC Platform and VP Pick
Activists Highlight the Hypocrisy of Banning Tennis Balls but Allowing Guns at the RNC
Trump and the Fascistization of America (1/2)
As Baltimore's Police Union Attacks Reform Efforts, The ACLU Fights Back
Erdogan Moves to Consolidate Power After Failed Military Coup
Baton Rouge Killer: What is Driving Violent Retaliation By Lone Gunmen?
Despite Acquittals of Officers Charged in the Death of Freddie Gray, Victims of Brutality Vow to Fight On
CAIR Protests Trump's Islamophobia at RNC
Who is Trump VP Pick Indiana Governor Mike Pence?
Odious Debt and the Betrayal of the Popular Will in Greece
Turkey in Crisis: Understanding the Erdogan/ Gulen Split
Study: U.S. Financial System Imposes 'Overcharge' of at Least $40,000 on Every Citizen

TheRealNewsNetwork.com, RealNewsNetwork.com, The Real News Network, Real News Network, The Real News, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of Independent World Television inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and The Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting