Dear Superintendent Banda,
By unanimous agreement, Pathfinder K-8 teachers would like to express our full and unequivocal support for our colleagues across the district who have boycotted the MAP test. While it is true that there are certain uses for the MAP, and that some teachers find ways to make it useful, its costs far outweigh its benefits. We share the criticisms our colleagues have so thoughtfully conveyed to you. To provide one specific example, at Pathfinder students lose access to our computer lab for nearly 4 months of the school year. For many students, this is the only opportunity they have to use technology to support their learning. As educators, we must prioritize learning over testing and we sincerely hope that you share this philosophy.
We appreciate your decision to convene a task force on assessment. In the meantime, we ask that you respect the decision your teachers have made to waste no more precious instructional time on a test that does not serve the needs of our students. Your teachers want the very best for students and that includes meaningful assessment tools. You have the opportunity to demonstrate inspired leadership and to send a message that, as the AAUP-UW contended, teachers in your district are regarded as educated professionals fully qualified to advise the school district with regards to assessment of student learning. As Superintendent, you have the chance to restore integrity and compassion to our district. Perhaps most importantly, you have the ability to show you are listening, really listening, to the voices of teachers in Seattle and across the entire country.