Seattle Superintendent Jose Banda has ordered Garfield High School administration to break a school-wide teacher boycott of the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) exams today by pulling students out of class to proctor the tests themselves.
"I have met with Garfield High School staff on two separate occasions to listen to their concerns and the important issues they raise regarding the limitations of the MAP assessment," Banda said in a statement released today. "While I feel the teachers at Garfield are sincere in their efforts to postpone the administration of the MAP, I also have a strong obligation to the students and parents of this school district to ensure we are measuring student progress in a consistent manner across all schools." Banda has pledged to create a task force comprised of teachers, principals, and parents to provide recommendations regarding the future of MAP assessments.
But in a separate statement released today, the boycotting teachers state that the district has failed to respond, point by point, to the list of criticisms levied at the MAP test. Furthermore, teachers say it's unclear if the district’s effort to undermine the boycott will be successful because students seem to hate the tests as much as teachers. "Indications early this morning are that there is wide spread 'opting out' of the test by students," their press release states. "For the first hour, only nine students are in the testing center. Sixty students were signed up to use the library but were displaced. Typically 90 students use the library before school and at lunch. These students are not allow access during testing."
Janet Woodward, Garfield’s librarian, said, “I’m sorry about all the students who are being displaced. It makes me sad.”
The boycott of MAP tests began at Garfield on January 10. Since then, teachers, educators, and substitutes at other Seattle schools and across the nation have showed their support for the boycott. The teachers argue that the tests hog valuable computer resources and classroom time, their measured results are often statistically insignificant, and that they're unfairly used to evaluate teacher performance.