The University of Washington’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) issued a statement this morning support Seattle Public Schools teachers in their MAP testing boycott:
[W]e support the decision of teachers at Garfield, Ballard, Sealth, the Center School, Orca K-8 and other Seattle Public Schools who have decided to refuse to administer the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP®), a standardized test that has been imposed despite teachers' principled objections on pedagogic grounds. In keeping with our organization's commitment to faculty oversight of academic matters, AAUP-UW contends that teachers should be regarded as educated professionals fully qualified to advise the School District with regards to assessment of students learning. AAUP-UW therefore calls upon the Seattle Public Schools superintendent to work with teachers to develop a more adequate measure of student progress, and opposes punitive measures against Seattle teachers who are boycotting the MAP test.
This, of course, is the subtext behind the MAP debate—the issue that is both uniting teachers in opposition to MAP and uniting critics in their opposition to the teachers—it's the question of whether teachers should or should not be treated as "educated professionals." Sure, the surface controversy is over whether MAP tests are an effective use of classroom time. But after a couple decades of education "reform" focused on blaming and disempowering teachers, I kinda get the feeling that MAP is the final straw.
This controversy is not simply about whether MAP is useful or not. It's about whether teachers are to be given a say about what is useful or not in their classroom. It's about respect.