Our VoiceCulture

Standing up to Standardized Testing

Jessica Acee • Jan 21, 2013

Earlier this month teachers at Seattle’s Garfield High School (former home to Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Lee and Quincy Jones) held a press conference in front of TV reporters, students and colleagues to explain its reasons for refusing to administer the MAP standardized test to their students.  Since then, three other schools in Seattle have joined the boycott.

Wayne Au, former Garfield student and now assistant professor of education at the University of Washington, commented, “At the most basic level, the national corporate school reform agenda requires teachers’ compliance. So regardless of individual motives, when a group of teachers collectively and publicly says NO, that represents a fundamental challenge to those pushing that elite agenda. The growing support for Garfield teachers’ resistance to the MAP test is a testament to just how much the collective action of teachers at one school means to the rest of the world.”

Cheating scandals, test score inflation, diminishing classroom time, inconsistent scoring, and limited school resources are just some of the reasons these tests are being challenged.  You can read all the reasons why the MAP needs to be thrown out on the Seattle teacher’s petition at Change.org.

There is a growing groundswell of people standing up to standardized tests in different ways across the country. Testing mandates were a big part of the Chicago teachers strike. The nation’s second largest teachers union, the American Federation of Teachers, unanimously adopted a resolution at its annual convention saying the focus on standardized testing has undermined education. In Texas, lawmakers are working on changes to their standardized test regimen after outraged school officials and parents complained. Some districts are even asking for waivers to exempt their students from these exams.  In honor of Dr. King, let’s all support this non-violent strategy to give the education of our young people back to the teachers and students who live it.

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