Thursday, January 24, 2013

SPS Librarians also Speak Out on MAP

From our friends at the Stranger Slog, what librarians are saying:

Laurie Amster-Burton, who spoke on behalf of librarians, says she actually switched schools in part because of how invasive MAP testing had become in regard to library time and space. The district has told educators that it thanks them for their concern but it needs time to work out a solution, but Amster-Burton says that these problems have existed for years, and educators have been bringing them up with the district the whole time. She brought with her a letter to Superintendent Banda, signed by 35 Seattle school librarians, in support of the Garfield teachers and in opposition to the MAP test.

Excerpt from letter:

Librarians, whose role is to teach information skills and support reading instruction, have been required in many schools to spend weeks and weeks as testing clerks. In many schools the first time a student visits the library is not to check out a book or research a topic, but to take a test—a test that is not aligned to curriculum and covers material that they have not learned.

These issues and many others were raised by librarians and teachers to district administrators over the years, but no major changes have been made.

The Slog also issued a call to arms to parents (based on a question I asked at the press conference at Garfield on Monday - they were nice enough to call me a "kick-ass blogger - I'll take that):

Parents could be teachers' greatest ally in getting MAP testing killed, but first these boycotting teachers and their allies need to focus their ground-game on getting parents up to speed.

Parents, are you up-to-speed?  Do you understand the issue?  Does it matter to you what your teacher thinks of MAP?

I can't urge you enough that if you do have questions, ask your teacher. Ask your child.  Ask other parents.

If it matters to you, then support the teachers.  If it really matters to you, opt your child out. 

The kids opting out would be more the problem than the teachers if you think about it.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

So far Hale teachers have not commented on the MAP test. Hale does give the MAP test. I want to support the Hale teachers so I am not sure what is the best course of action though I am leaning toward opting out.

HP

mirmac1 said...

For what its worth, parents here are 80 pages of teacher comments about the MAP:

MAP June 2010 Teacher Comments

Anonymous said...

Maybe students need to write the Superintendent about all the lost library time. I know our elementary child would benefit from more library time. There used to be regular weekly visits to the library. No more.

k-5 parent

book lover said...

Go librarians! Something to watch that's been happening nationwide is layoffs of elementary school librarians. That's crazy!

I have a book recommendation. It's a young adult speculative fiction novel about testing and opting out. It's called Scored, and it's by Lauren McLaughlin.

Jon said...

This caused a large drop in my otherwise positive impression of Superintendent Banda. From KUOW:

"Superintendent José Banda says if teachers don't give the test within the next month, they face suspension."

http://kuow.org/post/district-threatens-suspensions-seattle-teachers-continue-test-boycott

mirmac1 said...

This post reminds me of this particularly disturbing exchange regarding the Audacity! of the Garfield librarian letting the Board know her feelings about MAP...

How DARE staff speaks their minds!!

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thanks Miramac, I either forgot about this exchange or never saw it. To have the head of governance say she wishes she could cut staff off from communicating with the Board is very troubling. And, that Jessica asked if they could means some really want to control the message.

Luckily they are both gone.

dw said...

Ms. Amster-Burton wasn't the only librarian who couldn't stand the burden MAP put on the library. Last year Hamilton lost a wonderful librarian who had been there many years, who quit, uh retired because of MAP.

It's unfortunate that the district has chosen to misuse this test. It really does provide information that can be difficult to ascertain merely in the day-to-day happenings of a classroom. Hidden talents, odd knowledge gaps, etc. But it should never be used for placement purposes (Advanced Learning programs screening and Algebra 1 placement for APP) due to its margin of error, nor should it be used to grade teachers for the many reasons many people have stated over the past couple years.

It might be useful as a tool to help find teachers that have consistent holes in their teaching, but certainly not over just one or even two years, and other factors need to be considered even beyond test scores in any situation like that. For example the principal might be placing more challenging kids in one teacher's classroom.

The problem with MAP and the libraries should have been a non-issue; a test like this should never be run in a single common-use location that needs to be taken offline for weeks during the year. A few carts of wireless laptops could have solved that problem (and helped with others), but that costs money, and we all know how that goes.