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February 2, 2013 at 5:54 PM

18 Ballard High staffers join boycott of student “progress” tests

Eighteen staff members from Ballard High School have joined a boycott of the Measures of Academic Progress, the exams Seattle schools are required to give 2-3 times a year.

More teachers and instructional assistants may join next week, said Ballard science teacher Noam Gundle. The petition to join the boycott hadn’t been circulated yet to all staff, he said.

The ninth-graders at Ballard who were supposed to take the MAP this winter have already done so, which means the teachers’ stance won’t affect testing at that school until spring.  But teachers wanted to stand with their colleagues at three other schools, saying they won’t administer the tests or send students to take them, Gundle said.

Ballard is the fourth school to join the boycott, which started at Garfield High last month. Nearly all Garfield teachers are participating.  Eleven staff members at ORCA K-8, an alternative school, and 32 at Chief Sealth High also are participating. Teachers at many other schools have signed letters of support, as have parent and educator groups throughout the nation.

Seattle School Superintendent Jose Banda has not yet decided what to do if the protesting teachers don’t let their students take the exams by the Feb. 22 deadline, but he has told them they could face discipline.

Here is the full text of what the Ballard teachers signed:

“We, the undersigned educators are professionals who know how students learn and what they need from our daily experiences with them in the classroom and our years of expertise in education.  We believe the MAP test is a waste of students’ class time.  We believe in real learning opportunities.  Assessments are helpful, but the MAP test is not connected to what we teach, is not connected to our standards and has little benefit to students or student learning.  It provides little useful data and is not taken seriously by our students. The MAP test also consumes unsupportable labor, time, hardware, software, and financial resources.

At this time, we believe the test should end.  We will no longer agree to support the test and we will no longer send our students to be tested.  We join with our colleagues at numerous other Seattle Schools who refuse to the give the test, parents who are frustrated with the loss of learning time and students who dislike the test because the test assumes that all students learn the same way.  We believe that education is a fundamental right of students and they deserve only the best.

Comments | Topics: Ballard, Ballard High School, education


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