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‘Anti-testing movement’ grows

Jan 28, 2013 by

By refusing to administer a district-mandated test to their students, teachers at a Seattle high school have touched off a movement that’s picking up steam by the day.

The Chicago Teachers Union on Monday became the latest to jump on board and express support for the Seattle boycott, announcing a new campaign against “high-stakes standardized testing.”

“I think it’s important for us to go on record about this because we are likely to start seeing a more active anti-testing movement in Chicago,” said union President Karen Lewis.

Teachers at Seattle’s Garfield High School have for the past three weeks refused to give their students a standardized test known as the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) exam, claiming it is fundamentally flawed and takes away from valuable class time.

By doing so, they’ve inspired fellow teachers and union leaders, who are now launching an all-out assault on the MAP and other assessments. Instructors are now being encouraged to boycott the exams and not administer them to students, even if they’re required to by district policy.

“I, along with 3 million educators across the country, proudly support our members’ efforts in saying ‘no’ to giving their students a flawed test that takes away from learning and is not aligned with the curriculum,” said National Education Association President Dennis van Roekel.

The Seattle protest is not without precedent. Last year, teachers at a Chicago high school boycotted a district-mandated test and helped eliminate it. Teachers in other states have expressed similar distaste for standardized assessments, but full-blown boycotts have been, until recently, extremely rare.

In addition to calling the tests a waste of time, teachers and other critics also say they put low-income and minority students, who typically score lower on standardized assessments, at a disadvantage.

Seattle Public Schools warned teachers last week that they may face an unpaid, 10-day suspension for refusing to administer the test, which is required to be given by Feb. 22.

City schools Superintendent Jose Banda last week announced the formation of a task force to study the MAP test and similar assessments. Even before the boycott began, Seattle schools had planned to re-evaluate the benefits of the test at the end of this school year.

‘Anti-testing movement’ grows among American teachers – Washington Times.

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