Teachers at Seattle’s Garfield High School voted unanimously earlier this year not to give the district’s required reading and math test. They encountered predictable resistance from district officials and harsh criticism from outside observers. Many students and parents, however, sided with the teachers.
The PTA and student government leaders voted in support of the teachers, and many parents sent in “opt-out” letters to exempt their children from testing that they viewed as an inappropriate measure of teachers’ effectiveness. And so when administrators came to class with lists of kids who needed to take the tests during the spring testing period, many students were exempted and others students simply refused to go with the administrators.
There was “the most incredible sense of solidarity in the building,” recalls Garfield history teacher Jesse Hagopian.
Parents who opt out generally do so out of concern that too much time is being taken with testing (and test preparations), that tests are not reliable or valid measures of what students know, and that tests are being used to rate schools, teachers, and students in ways that aren’t fair.
Read more. [Image: Joe Raymond/AP Photo]