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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Seattle MAP Protest Goes On (and Goes International)

Update:  For example, there is this story from Rockville Centre, NY from the Long Island Herald where 20% of the students in their district have opted out of their "high stakes testing."    These are students in grades 3-8.  

This one is from the Courthouse News Service about parents who filed a federal class action lawsuit against the state of New York and their son's school over the school punishing him for refusing to take a test.  New York apparently has no policy on opt-outs so principals are free to do as they please.  In this case, the school called the sheriff's office to send officers to a ball field to make sure the student could not participate in playing baseball for his school.  Another student was denied recess and the parent told that the district may refer to Child Protective Services. 

 "Such disparities in terms of how school districts throughout New York state viewed and handled students who opted out, occurred, in large part, because New York state's Education Department failed to promulgate regulations and/or protocols to ensure that the students and families that were subject to these examinations were treated in an equitable, just, consistent and constitutional manner," the parents say.

They seek a temporary restraining order to bar punishment for opting out of the April 25-26 math tests, and a preliminary injunction barring any further disciplinary action. They also seek court costs and attorneys' fees.

End of update
There is a press conference tomorrow by the Seattle teachers/staff against MAP testing to announce the boycott for the next round of testing is to grow larger.  (They will be announcing new schools joining in.)

Their message to the district; Don't Renew the MAP Contract.  The MAP contract expires this spring and the call is for the Superintendent to decline to renew the contract with NWEA.

From the press release:

Garfield history teacher Jesse Hagopian said, “Our movement for quality assessment is becoming an ‘educators’ spring’ uprising. New elementary and high schools in Seattle are joining the movement here in Seattle. Hundreds of teachers from around the state just voted overwhelming to support the continuing MAP test boycott at the Washington Education Association’s end of April Representative Assembly. In Chicago hundreds of students walked out of school to protest their own high stakes test. In New York thousands of parents have opted their children out of a standardized test—and this is all just in the last week.”

And this is true - the Seattle protest has been noted, over and over, in the national media. The courage (and whether you agree or not, they are being courageous) teachers and staff who are standing up are being heard by teachers around the country. This protest has been a spark for other protests around the country.

Also:
In response, teachers from around Seattle formed their own committee, the Teacher Work Group on Assessment. The Teacher Work Group on Assessment has been meeting to discuss research and send recommendations to the district Task Force. The final report of that group will be presented at the press conference.

They also note that May 1st - International Workers Day - there will be support from teachers in other countries who also support the boycott.

Interesting times we live in.

6 comments:

ws said...

when do the schools begin spring testing? I never saw any news about Map from our school until after it was over. I see nothing listed on the calendar for the next round either.

Anonymous said...

What about the parents and students? How many families are opting their children out of MAP testing? All it takes is a short email to the school/principal.

-opt out

Anonymous said...

We won't opt out. Thus far my child hits the ceiling on all the standardized math tests and if those results help keep the child in more advanced maths, so be it.

parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

According to the press release, the Spring testing window is now open. However, schools don't have to do the third time so your school may not be on the calendar.

Opt Out, hard to say what parents will do. I suspect if more schools (and more parents) say no, then you will see other parents doing it. (I'll have write a thread on how this is playing out across the country. Some districts are playing hardball, telling students no athletics or even calling in police. Seriously.)

Anonymous said...

from the SPS calendar, MAP spring testing window is april 22 to june 7. also MSP testing begins this week with dates over the next 2 weeks.

we've received emails from our teachers letting us know of upcoming "do not miss school" days. between 2 kids, half of our days in may are highlighted on my calendar with some test or another...

diane

Anonymous said...

According to the Seattle Times article, only around 600 students had opted out of MAP testing in Winter testing. That's less than 2% of those testing. It's hardly a ground swell of parental protest.

We opt out for several reasons, but also know many parents that consider the results useful. I don't consider the test flawed, as Hagopian was quoted, but I don't agree with how the district is using the results (for teacher evaluations in particular), and I'm not convinced the lost class time and lost library access are worth it.

Even more frustrating is how the district seems to be ignoring the MAP data as a means of evaluating the math materials. With more and more schools deviating from the district materials, and showing improvements, why don't we see this data in Curriculum and Instruction discussions?