Why We Support Seattle Teachers' Standardized Test Boycott

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Rethinking Schools

Why We Support Seattle Teachers' Standardized Test Boycott

High-stakes standardized tests are overused and overrated

by
Teachers, Education Experts

In the public statement below, more than 130 educators, researchers and childhood advocates, including some of the most well-respected figures in the field of education, pledged support for the boycott of the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test initiated by the teachers at Garfield High School in Seattle, calling the action a “blow against the overuse and misuse of standardized tests.”

The Use of Standardized Tests is Spreading

To fulfill the requirements of the No Child Left Behind legislation, schools in all 50 states administer standardized tests to students, often beginning in third grade, in reading and math. Now, in response to the demands of Race to the Top and the trend toward greater “accountability” in education, states are developing even more tests for more subjects. Standardized tests, once used primarily to assess student learning, have now become the main instrument for the high-stakes evaluation of teachers, administrators, and even entire schools and school systems.

Tests Consume a Great Deal of Time and Money

Standardized testing is consuming an-ever growing proportion of education budgets nationwide. The total price tag may be nearly two billion dollars. Texas alone spent, last year, $90 million on standardized testing. These tests are not a one hour or one day affair, but now can swallow up whole weeks of classroom time. In Chicago, some students must complete 13 standardized tests each year.

Testing Hurts Students

In the name of “raising standards” the growth of high stakes standardized testing has effectively lowered them. As the stakes for standardized tests are raised higher and higher, administrators and teachers have been forced to spend less time on arts, sciences, social studies, and physical education, and more time on tested subjects. The pressure to prepare students for standardized exams forces teachers to narrow instruction to only that material which will be tested. With the fate of whole schools and school systems at stake, cheating scandals have flourished, exposing many reform “miracles” in the process. Worse, focusing so much energy on testing undermines the intrinsic value of teaching and learning, and makes it more difficult for teachers and students to pursue authentic teaching and learning experiences.

Research does not Support Using Tests to Evaluate Teachers

As a means of assessing student learning, standardized tests are limited. No student’s intellectual process can be reduced to a single number. As a means of assessing teachers, these results are even more problematic. Research suggests that much of the variability in standardized test results are attributable to factors OTHER than the teacher. So-called “value-added” models for teacher evaluation have a large margin of error, and are not reliable measures of teacher performance.

Educators Are Taking a Stand for Authentic Teaching and Learning

In a nearly unanimous vote, the staff at Garfield High school in Seattle decided to refuse to administer the district’s Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test. Research has shown that this test has no significant impact on reading scores. While serving other low-stakes district purposes in the Seattle Public Schools, it is only used as a high-stakes measure for teachers, even though the test’s developers (the Northwest Evaluation Association) have noted the inappropriateness of using tests for such evaluations. In taking this action, the educators at Garfield High School have struck a blow against the overuse and misuse of standardized tests, and deserve support. We, the undersigned (10), stand with these brave teachers and against the growing standardized testing industrial complex.
Lauren Anderson
University of Southern California
Sam Anderson
 
National Black Education Agenda

Jean Anyon
The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Fadhilika Atiba-Weza
Retired Superintendent

Wayne Au, University of Washington, Bothell
Rethinking Schools

Ann Aviles de Bradley
Northeastern Illinois University

Bill Ayers
University of Illinois, Chicago

Rick Ayers
University of San Francisco

Jeff Bale
Michigan State University

Johanna Barnhart
The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Kenneth Bernstein
Maya Angelou Public Charter Middle School

Bill Bigelow
Rethinking Schools

Maureen T. Boler
PS17K, New York

Steve Brier
The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Jacqueline Grennon Brooks
Hofstra University

Anthony Brown
University of Texas, Austin

Jim Burns
South Dakota State University

Kristen Lynn Buras
Urban South Grassroots Research Collective

Keith Campbell
Saint Mary’s College of California

Nancy Carlsson-Paige
Lesley University

Noam Chomsky
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Linda Christensen
Rethinking Schools

Anthony Cody
Education Week Teacher Magazine

Antonia Darder
Loyola Marymount University

Noah DeLissovoy
University of Texas, Austin

Susan DuFresne
Teacher, Washington State

Anita Fernandez
Prescott College

Michelle Fine
The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Nancy Flanagan
Education Week Teacher Magazine

Ofelia Garcia
The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Alice Ginsburg
Author

Gene Glass
University of Colorado, Boulder

Paul Gorski
George Mason University

Karen Gourd
University of Washington, Bothell

Judith Gouwens
Roosevelt University

Sandy Grande
Connecticut College

Gabriella Gutierrez y Muhs
Seattle University

Rico Gutstein
University of Illinois, Chicago

Helen Gym
Asian American United
Rethinking Schools

Leonie Haimson
Class Size Matters

Zoe Hammer
Prescott College

Nicholas D. Hartlep
Illinois State University

Jane Hirschmann
Time Out From Testing

James Horn
Cambridge College

Diane Horwitz
DePaul University

Nora Hyland
Rutgers

Ed Johnson
Advocate for Quality Public Education, Atlanta

Shaun Johnson
At the Chalk Face

Brian Jones
The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Stan Karp
Rethinking Schools

Jonie Kipling
Hofstra University

Sid Kivanoski
Brooklyn Technical High School

Jonathan Kozol
Author

Steven Krashen
University of Southern California

Kevin Kumashiro
University of Illinois, Chicago
National Association for Multicultural Education

Raina J. Leon
St Mary’s College of California

Zeus Leonardo
California State University, Long Beach

Karen Lewis
Chicago Teachers Union

Pauline Lipman
University of Illinois, Chicago

Barbara Madeloni
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Morna McDermott
United Opt Out National

Kathleen McInerney
Saint Xavier University

Elizabeth Meadows
Roosevelt University

Deborah  Meier
Coalition of Essential Schools

Nicholas Michelli
The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Alexandra Miletta
Mercy College

Alex Molnar
University of Colorado, Boulder
National Education Policy Center

Steevenson Mondelus
HOFSTRA graduate, Social Studies

National Association for Multicultural Education

Donna Nevel
New York University

Sonia Nieto
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Pedro Noguera
New York University

Isabel Nuñez
Concordia University Chicago

Dr. Tema Okun
National L0uis University

Edward Olivos
University of Oregon

Celia Oyler
Teachers College, Columbia University

Lisa (Leigh) Patel
Boston College

Thomas Pedroni
Wayne State University

Emery Petchauer
Oakland University

Bob Peterson
Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association
Rethinking Schools

Anthony Picciano
The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Bree Picower
Montclair State University

Irene Plonczak
Hofstra University

Thomas S. Poetter
Miami University

Anthony Pravin

Courtney Prusmack
Adams 14 Schools, Denver

Therese Quinn
Teacher

Diane Ravitch
New York University

Kristen A. Renn
Michigan State University

Rethinking Schools

Peggy Roberston
United Opt Out National

Georgiena C. Robinson
John F. Kennedy High School
Plainview, NY

John Rogers
University of California, Los Angeles

Leilani Sabzalian
University of Oregon

Kenneth J. Saltman
DePaul University, Chicago

Karyn Sandlos
School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Karen Saunders
Spark Teacher Education Institute
Brattleboro, Vermont

Eric Schmitt
Teacher, New York

Nancy Schniedewind
State University of New York, New Paltz

Ann Schulte
California State University, Chico

Tim Scott
Education Radio

Brad Seidman
John F. Kennedy High School
Bellmore, NY

Doug Selwyn
Plattsburgh State University

Carla Shalaby
Wellesley College

Jessica T. Shiller
Towson University

Ira Shor
The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Alan Singer
Hofstra University

Elizabeth A. Skinner
Illinois State University

Timothy D. Slekar
Penn State University, Altoona

Christine Sleeter
California State University, Monterey Bay

Ceresta Smith
United Teachers of Dade Phoenix Rising MORE Caucus

Jody Sokolower
Rethinking Schools

Joel Spring
Queens College and The Graduate Center, City University of New York

David Stovall
University of Illinois, Chicago

Simeon Stumme
Concordia University Chicago

Katy Swalwell
George Mason University

Melissa Bollow Tempel
Milwaukee Public Schools
Rethinking Schools

Chris Thinnes
Curtis School, Los Angeles

Paul Thomas
Furman University

Maris Thompson
California State University, Chico

Carol L. Tieso
College of William and Mary

Joe Tonan
Claremont Faculty Association

Eve Tuck
State University of New York, New Paltz

Wayne Urban
University of Alabama

Angela Valenzuela
University of Texas, Austin

Manka Varghese
University of Washington

Sofia Villenas
Cornell University

Federico R. Waitoller
University of Illinois at Chicago

Stephanie Walters
Rethinking Schools

Kathleen Weiler
Tufts University

Lois Weiner
New Jersey City University

Matthew Weinstein
Teacher Educator
Tacoma, WA

Kevin Welner
University of Colorado, Boulder
National Education Policy Center

Angela Wheat
Freeport High School

Barbara Winslow
Brooklyn College

Kathy Xiong
Milwaukee Public Schools
Rethinking Schools

Yong Zhao
Author and Scholar

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