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Jesse Hagopian, star teacher and organizer, reports that the Seattle Education Association voted for a moratorium on all standardized testing.
This is a stellar example of teachers taking control of their profession and their classrooms. They are wresting control from uninformed legislators and the greedy testing industry, as well as Congress, which heedlessly imposes mandates without a clue about the damage they do to children, teachers, and education.
I am bursting with pride for my union.
The Seattle Education Association voted at this week’s Representative Assembly to support a resolution calling for a moratorium on all standardized testing! This vote comes in a long line of organizing and opposition to high-stakes testing in Seattle.
In 2013, the teachers at Garfield High School voted unanimously to refuse to administer the MAP test. The boycott spread to several other schools in Seattle. When the superintendent threatened the boycotting teachers with a 10 day suspension without pay, non of the teachers backed down. At the end of the year, because of the overwhelming solidarity from parents, teachers, and students around the country, not only were no teachers disciplined, but the superintendent announced that the MAP test would no longer be required for Seattle’s high schools. In the subsequent years we have seen the movement continue to develop with Nathan Hale High School achieving a 100% opt out rate of the junior class of the Smarter Balanced test in 2015, with some 60,000 families opting their kids out of the common core test around Washington State.
Despite these heroic efforts to stand up to the testocracy, they are still trying to reduce teaching a learning to a score and use that score to punish students. Thousands of students will not graduate from high school across Washington State simply because they didn’t pass the common core test. The average student in the public schools in the U.S. takes an outlandish 112 standardized tests in the K-12 career–forcing teachers to teach to the test, rather than teach to the student. Study after study has reveled that these tests are a better measure of family income that aptitude. These test measure resources and your proximity to the dominant culture, negatively impacting English Language Learners, special education students, students of color, and low income students.
For all these reasons and more, my colleague Jeff Treistman, introduced a New Business Item (NBI) to bring before the Seattle Education Association this week to consider taking a bold stance against the outrageous over testing of students. Below is a short statement from Jeff explaining his reasoning behind the successful resolution, and gives us the language of the NBI. It is my sincere hope that the Seattle School Board heeds this resolution and moves to implement a “two year moratorium on all standardized testing, at the district, state, and federal levels and to open a public forum along with Seattle Public Schools on the best way to assess our students.”
Continue reading for the statement of Jeff Treistman, who introduced the resolution, as well as the text of the resolution.