Seattle test boycott update: Supt. backs down... Victory for the Garfield teachers and other MAP boycotting schools in in Seattle!!... No teacher will be disciplined!

Seattle schools supt. Jose Banda has backed off on his promise to discipline teachers who boycotted the MAP test and has additionally agreed to scale back the use of the MPA with students. The teachers at Seattle's Garfield High School had boycotted the administration of the MPA, saying it was a waste of money and "child abuse."

In a message to all school staff, Banda stated that the "community" had had a discussion. By changing around those staff who were required to administer the test and using some other doubletalk, Banda was able to continue supporting the MAP. But buried down in his memo a recounting of an unprecedented amount of teacher resistance and parent boycott. "We did see a higher than usual number of high school students and families who opted out of taking the test," Banda wrote. "Districtwide, a total of 459 parents and 133 students opted-out. Of these opt-outs, 265 parents (58% of total) were from two district high schools (Garfield and Ingraham), and 129 students (97% of total) were from one high school (Garfield)..."

Like his predecessor, Banda had close ties to the testing companies and to the business leaders in the city who back test-based "accountability" systems.

Seattle high school teacher Jesse Hagopian (left) spoke with Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis (above right) before both spoke at a community forum on testing and a report on the Garfield High School teachers' boycott. Substance photo by Sharon Schmidt.In a statement emailed to supporters of the boycott on the day before the front page of most newspapers was dominated by another major test cheating scandal, the Garfield teachers' supporters said:

"Superintendent Banda promised that teachers who boycotted the MAP test would be disciplined, but because of the overwhelming solidarity from around the nation, he was forced to back down. In his letter he tries to save face by saying that no test coordinators or teachers in tested subjects boycotted the test–which is just completely false, as just about every teacher at Garfield signed their name to the statement that saying they boycotted the test. I’m not sure how he could even suggest that!

"Thanks to everyone who passed a resolution, demonstrated, raised money, emailed or called our Superintendent!

"The below e-mail was sent to every educator in Seattle….


From: Banda, Jose L

Sent: Friday, March 29, 2013 10:14 AM

Subject: MAP assessment update

Dear Seattle Public Schools community,

Our community has engaged in a deep discussion during the last two months about the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment, which provides data used for screening and analyzing student achievement and measuring growth over time.

While we know the MAP assessment has its strengths and limitations, it’s important for educators to use a variety of data sources to help inform classroom instruction. For many of our teachers and principals, the MAP assessment provides critical information to help screen our academically at-risk students so we can identify additional supports and provide more personalized attention, as well as measure their academic growth and improvement over time.

The latest testing period wrapped up on Feb. 28, and I wanted to share details of this assessment, as well as provide an update on future testing.

First of all, I want to thank our staff and schools for their ongoing work in administering assessments. I am pleased to report that every school administered the MAP assessment and met the testing deadline. There will be no discipline of any test administrator. Those teachers who publically said they refused to administer the test either did not teach a tested subject, or they were not a test administrator. However, I want to reiterate my hope that in the future we seek to address our concerns and issues in a more constructive manner, in a way that puts our students first.

Overall, nearly 30,000 students in the required grade levels (1st to 9th) completed the MAP assessment during the winter period. We did see a higher than usual number of high school students and families who opted out of taking the test. Districtwide, a total of 459 parents and 133 students opted-out. Of these opt-outs, 265 parents (58% of total) were from two district high schools (Garfield and Ingraham), and 129 students (97% of total) were from one high school (Garfield), A detailed accounting of winter MAP participation can be found here:

I want to thank the members of the Task Force on Assessment and Measuring Progress. This group of principal, teacher, student, family and community representatives has met four times since February and is charged with reviewing District assessment programs, including MAP, and making recommendations for next year and beyond. You can review the meeting minutes and agendas, as well as the names of task force members, here.

The task force is expected to make a recommendation to me in May regarding assessments for the 2013-14 school year.

In the meantime, our spring assessments will be held from April 22 – June 7. Beginning this spring, the District recommends that students enrolled in an Algebra 1 course take the NWEA Algebra End-of-Course (EOC) exam instead of Math 6+ test.

Based on a preliminary review of MAP by staff, we’ve made the following adjustment to our testing policy: For 9th grade, only students below standard based on the state reading assessment will be required to take the MAP reading test. It will be optional for 9th graders who are at or above standard in reading.

Again, I want to thank the teachers and community members for the ongoing dialogue about assessments, and I appreciate the Task Force’s commitment. I am pleased that we have been able to use this issue as an opportunity for us to all work together on a solution that best benefits our students.

Sincerely, José Banda, Superintendent, Seattle Public Schools

[ victory-for-the-garfield-teachers-and-other-map-boycotting-schools-in-in-seattle/]


No discipline for Seattle teachers in boycott of MAP exams... Superintendent José Banda said none of the protesting teachers had responsibility for administering the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) exams, so they were not insubordinate by failing to carry out their duties. By Linda Shaw, Seattle Times education reporter

No Seattle teachers will be disciplined for boycotting the exams known as the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) this winter.

Superintendent José Banda announced Friday that none of the protesting teachers had responsibility for administering the exams, so they were not insubordinate by failing to carry out their duties.

At many schools, Banda said, other school staff or parents — not teachers — are responsible for giving the MAP tests.

“What I found out ... is that it’s not the teachers that really do a lot of that stuff,” he said. “You have a testing coordinator that’s primarily responsible for setting up the test.”

It’s possible that none of the boycotting teachers failed in their duties because other staff members stepped in after the boycott was announced.

Still, Banda had told Garfield teachers they would face discipline for participating in the boycott, and some of those teachers taught students who were supposed to take MAP during the winter testing period, said Kris McBride, the school’s academic dean and testing coordinator.

Banda called any changes in a school’s testing protocol an “internal decision.”

Garfield teacher Jesse Hagopian said he was happy that Banda “decided to listen to parents, students and teachers, and not reprimand us.” But Hagopian added that he would like Banda to respond to each of the concerns Garfield teachers have raised about the MAP.

Seattle Public Schools started giving MAP exams about five years ago as a way to monitor student progress over time. Most students, up through ninth grade, take MAP reading and math exams two to three times a year. That’s in addition to the state-required tests that students also take each spring.

Nearly the entire staff at Garfield joined the MAP boycott, though some of the teachers, including Hagopian, do not teach language arts or math, and wouldn’t have been involved in giving the test. About 60 additional staff members at Orca K-8, Sealth High and Ballard High joined the boycott as well.

McBride said Garfield teachers soon will announce whether they will continue the boycott during spring testing, scheduled to start April 22.

Banda says he hopes they don’t. Their concerns, he said, have been heard “loud and clear.”

A district-appointed task force of teachers, principals, parents and other community members has been meeting to evaluate the MAP tests.

In the meantime, the district has relaxed some of the requirements for spring testing. Not all ninth-graders will have to take the MAP reading exams, only those who are below grade level.

The district also is recommending that high schools give the MAP algebra exam, not the more-general math test given in the past.