Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
Seattle school officials warn teachers boycotting MAP test
Teachers are participating in democratic tradition
An open letter to Seattle Public Schools Superintendent José Banda:
From my perspective as an educator, I know the great harm being done to children, teachers and schools by our current focus on testing and measurement as exemplified in the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) [“Teachers opposed to tests get a warning,” NWThursday, Jan. 24].
Last night, I facilitated a classroom discussion between 20 master teachers and 20 student teachers (all secondary teachers) in which we reflected upon what we thought teaching entailed when we entered education, and what we had come to understand about teaching over time. I invited the student teachers to ask the master teachers some questions and, separately, for the master teachers to develop some words of advice for the student teachers. While the student teacher’s questions focused on the delivery of content and balancing the incredible pressures of the work, the master teachers shared one strong theme: Teaching is about building relationships and “helping to raise [young people] to be responsible, creative, caring, understanding, successful adults.”
Teachers, parents, students and many administrators understand that the testing regimes imposed on schools are counter to and, in fact make it more difficult to attend to, the relationships through which young people come to know themselves and the world.
As a citizen, I invite you to consider that the teachers of Seattle who have joined this boycott are taking a place in a proud democratic tradition of standing up to the status quo, of demanding that we attend to how we make community, how we state and live our values. They are using their voices, and risking their livelihoods, to stand for something bigger than themselves. In this way, they contribute to the larger democratic project, and teach all of us a lesson about what it means to call ourselves citizens and community members.
You have an opportunity to do the same; to step in line behind and next to these brave people. I implore you to join them, to rescind your threats of cutting pay, to abandon the idea that we must follow the rules — a story that will not ease your conscience in the dead of night — and find your courage to stand with them.
--Barbara Madeloni, Northampton, Mass.
MAP testing runs risk of technology failing
My daughter was on Question 19 of the MAP reading test today when the Seattle school district’s computer system crashed.
I’m sure glad that her score will figure into her teacher’s evaluation!
--Robin Kelson, Seattle
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