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Seattle Teachers Lead Day of Action Against Standardized Tests

'We call on supporters nationwide to show their support for our effort to Scrap the MAP'

- Lauren McCauley, staff writer

The Seattle teachers' boycott of a district required standardized exam continues to gain traction as Wednesday's nation-wide day of protest rallies educators and supporters across the country in a call of action to 'Scrap the MAP.' 

(Photo: Scrap the Map via facebook) In what some are calling "the most significant revolt to date against the Obama administration’s embrace of standardized testing," the Seattle Educators Association along with solidarity group Scrap the Map is calling on fellow instructors, parents, students and other sympathizers to “hold meetings, rallies, take photos and wear red to show support.”

"We call on supporters of public education nationwide to participate in actions in their locale to show their support for our effort to Scrap the MAP," they announced on their Facebook page. 

The burgeoning protest began at Seattle's Garfield High School in early January, when educators unanimously voted to boycott against the Measure of Academic Progress, known as the MAP test, which is often used in teacher evaluations. In a change.org petition, the group cites their many grievances with the exam, including its failure to align with state standards; its administration takes time away from instruction; its negative effect on students with special needs; and its monopoly on computer labs.

"We have a different destination for our kids, and that destination is not on the MAP. Our destination is a destination of creativity. Our destination is a destination of critical thinking. We want to teach our kids to solve real problems that they see in the community, and our stand against this MAP test is teaching them that," said Garfield High School history teacher and boycott leader Jesse Hagopian.

On Monday, the local chapter of the NAACP announced that they were backing the boycott, as well. In a statement, the civil rights group said that the test results were more "reflective of the educational and/or economic successes of the child's parents" rather than what "students have learned over the course of a current school year" and lead to an "inequitable result" for children of color and those living in poverty.

Despite the clear groundswell against the mandated exam, the MAP test is being administered to Garfield High School students beginning Tuesday morning, though nearly the entire non-administrative staff will refuse to take part. According to Kris McBride, Garfield’s academic dean and testing coordinator, more than 100 parents have asked that their children be excused from taking the exam out of support for the teachers' action.

The protesting teachers are asking school administration officials for an open dialogue on student and teacher assessment options. Instead, the Washington Times reports, Seattle superintendent Jose Banda is threatening the group with a 10-day suspension without pay for their boycott of the MAP test.