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Education Lab is a project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: Garfield High

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October 23, 2014 at 3:19 PM

Garfield students, teachers protest staff cut

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Garfield students left school early Thursday to protest the district’s plans to remove one teaching position from the school. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

Hundreds of students and teachers at Seattle’s Garfield High School walked out of class early on Thursday over news that one of their teachers will be cut because the district says the school’s enrollment is lower than anticipated.

District leaders say they are reviewing the school’s headcount because school staff believe Garfield has more students than anticipated, not less.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: enrollment, Garfield High, Garfield High School

October 3, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Test-boycotter’s book a salvo in ‘revolution’ against Common Core

For anyone who wonders what’s powering the virulent opposition to standardized testing, Common Core standards and so-called education reform, Jesse Hagopian’s new book, More Than a Score, will be an illuminating read.

A mosaic of essays from teachers, parents, students and administrators, Hagopian’s work  scheduled for release by Haymarket Books in December — is a polemic. The Garfield High School history teacher who attracted national attention for helping to rally Seattle educators in a boycott of the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test believes those who value testing as a measure of student achievement are not merely possessed of a different viewpoint, but flat-out driven by dollars.

Jesse Hagopian discusses Garfield High School teachers' decision to refuse to the give the MAP test to their students in 2012. Photo by Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times.

Jesse Hagopian discusses Garfield High School teachers’ decision to refuse to the give the MAP test to their students in 2012. Photo by Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times.

He may have a point. Bill Gates is quoted promoting the Common Core for creating “a large base of customers eager to buy products that can help every kid learn and every teacher get better.”

Slamming this approach, Hagopian presents testimonials from students in Portland, parents in New York and administrators in Austin, all of whom rail against the mass testing that comes with Common Core. He has an essay from Diane Ravitch, assistant secretary of education under the first President Bush, who once supported No Child Left Behind.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: Garfield High, Jesse Hagopian, standardized tests

April 30, 2014 at 5:00 AM

New way to test? Garfield teachers explore New York model

Rachel Eells was one of several Garfield High School teachers who boycotted MAP testing last year. Photo by John Lok / The Seattle Times 2013.

Rachel Eells was one of the Garfield High School teachers who boycotted MAP testing last year. Photo by John Lok / The Seattle Times 2013.

In the wake of last year’s testing protest in Seattle, teachers at Garfield High, who led that revolt, received an invitation to visit teachers from 28 New York high schools where students don’t take most of their state’s high-stakes, standardized tests.

The schools, part of the New York  Performance Standards Consortium, instead give performance assessments —  in-depth assignments such as writing a paper comparing the protagonists’ deaths in three novels, or, in math, finding the parabolic path of a comet.

Consortium teachers make sure they grade such projects in the same way, sometimes sharing rubrics and scoring projects together. They’ve persuaded the state of New York to let them judge students’ skills that way, rather than with the usual New York Regents exams.

Two Garfield teachers visited the consortium in October, and two others went in February. They returned eager to try some of those ideas here, said Garfield teacher Rachel Eells.

The four teachers, plus a few others, met all this school year, looking closely at how they each assess their students’ progress, and helping each other improve their instructions to students, and their grading criteria.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: Garfield High, MAP, Measures of Academic Progress