No punishment for teachers in Seattle test boycottSuperintendent Jose Banda announced today that no teachers would be disciplined for boycotting the exams known as the Measures of Academic Progress, or MAP, this winter.
District leaders concluded that none of the protesting teachers had responsibility for administering the exams, Banda said, so they were not insubordinate by failing to carry out their duties.
At many schools, Banda said, other school staff or parents are responsible for giving the test, not teachers.
“What I found out … is that it’s not the teachers that really do a lot of that stuff. You have a testing coordinator that’s primarily responsible for setting up the test.”
It’s possible that no teachers failed in their duties because other staff members stepped in to give the exam.
At Garfield, after teachers announced their boycott in January, administrators stepped in to give the exams. Banda had earlier told Garfield teachers they would face discipline for boycotting the tests. There were definitely teachers at Garfield whose students were supposed to take MAP reading or math exams during the winter testing period, said Kris McBride, the school’s academic dean and testing coordinator.
Banda called any changes in testing protocol an “internal decision.”
McBride said Garfield teachers they soon will announce whether they will continue the boycott for spring testing, which is scheduled to start April 22.
Banda says he hopes they don’t. Their concerns, he said, have been heard “loud and clear.”
District Says Teachers Who Boycotted Test Won’t Be Punished
Students in Seattle Schools take the MAP test in reading and math two or three times a year, from kindergarten through ninth grade or beyond. In January, dozens of teachers said they wouldn’t give the test winter quarter because it ate up class time without producing useful data.
In response, the district threatened teachers with two weeks of unpaid suspension if they didn’t administer the test. But in a letter to district employees today, Superintendent Jose Banda said it turns out the teachers who refused to give the MAP test didn’t break any rules after all. "In talking to the administrators, they didn’t find, or we didn’t find, that any of the teachers did not perform their duties as was expected with regards to the MAP testing," he said. According to Banda, that’s because none of the boycotting teachers were actually responsible for administering the test. For instance, at Garfield High School, hundreds of students joined the protest by opting out of the test. Banda says teachers had to stay in the classroom with those students while other staff members administered the test in another room.
Garfield history teacher Jesse Hagopian called the superintendent’s decision a "huge victory" for protesters. "Teachers at Garfield are celebrating today. You would see a lot of smiles down here in the doghouse," Hagopian said. But Hagopian says the superintendent’s letter makes it sound like the boycott never happened. He said the real reason teachers aren’t being disciplined is the attention the protest received. "Students, parents and teachers all over the nation called, and e-mailed, and wrote letters, and protested, and rallied, and made their voices heard for an alternative to the MAP test. They couldn’t be ignored," Hagopian said.
The district recently changed the MAP testing policy so fewer students will have to take the exam. But Superintendent Banda said he still expects teachers to give the test spring quarter.
Hagopian says he expects even more teachers will now boycott the MAP test.