Woohoo!! Teachers at a Garfield High School in Seattle have become the first ones to take a stand against stupid standardized testing. The state’s MAP test is like many tests across the country. It requires hours of class time for students to be tested several times throughout the year. Its results are used primarily to evaluate teachers, though the test was not designed to do that. It doesn’t even align with the state’s own standards so what is it even testing?
I’ve always thought something like this would be necessary to get the ball moving on getting rid of these asinine tests. Had I ever gone back to teaching I would like to thing I would have gotten involved in something like this wherever I taught. If I still worked with teachers and schools I’d probably be encouraging them to do this at their schools.
This movement has slowly been growing over the last few years. The Save Our Schools rally in 2011 was the first major call to action. While it never gained the media attention it deserved, it was the first step. That organization spawned organizations in almost every state. The Save Texas Schools organization has been pushing hard against the Texas legislature testing obsession and attempts to defund public education (Get involved!). There are even other moves focused on repealing NCLB, which is the impetus beyond much of the testing.
There have been movements to try and get parents to opt their own students out of testing whenever possible. But the rallies and moves by individual parents only can do so much. Finally, there at Garfield High, there is a united front. All of the teachers and administrators have joined together in this resistance. The schools PTSA and student body have supported them. And there are signs that other schools in the area might join them.
This is, unfortunately, how change has to happen sometimes. It would be nice if you could do it with reasoned debate through the normal political process. But reasoned debate and politics generally don’t go well together. Not without public pressure forcing it. If enough teachers, parents and school officials follow this example across the country, we might finally begin to see a change. Hopefully, that change will be more than just reduction in testing, but an actual push toward quality education.