Seattle test boycotters rally national support

Jan 31, 2013

A group of Seattle teachers is trying to rally national support behind its boycott of a required test, even as they face reprisals from the school district. Teachers protesting the Measures of Academic Progress, or MAP tests, asked their supporters to besiege district headquarters with phone calls and emails. They say the tests waste class time and give misleading information, and they object to MAP scores being used in their own professional evaluations.

A Seattle Public Schools spokeswoman says several hundred comments came in Wednesday – not huge for a public campaign.

But teachers at Garfield High School, who started the MAP boycott, are still becoming a cause celebre among skeptics of standardized tests, including prominent testing critic and education historian Diane Ravitch.

“I’ve been hearing from people in Australia and New Zealand, Canadian educators. I’ll hearing from educators in Europe and in Asia as well about Garfield High School. It does have international resonance,” Ravitch Said.

Teachers’ organizations in Maryland, Texas, California and Illinois have also sent support.

District officials have warned teachers they have until February 22 to give the tests, or face punishment, which could include a 10-day suspension without pay. The MAP tests are used to give a snapshot two or three times a year of how students are mastering the material they’re being taught – data that district officials say is crucial to keeping kids on track.