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Seattle Test Boycott: Our Destination Is Not on the MAP

Publication: Rethinking Schools
Date: April 19, 2013

Summary: Jesse Hagopian—a high school history teacher in Seattle and founding member of Social Equality Educators—participated in the boycott against Seattle Public School's mandated Measures of Academic Progress (MAP), along with numerous other teachers in the area. He shares how the boycott was organized and what lessons it holds for those who want to "liberate education from the standardized testing regime."


Excerpt from Article

Our MAP test boycott has already achieved several important victories. The national mobilizations, petitions, and e-mail campaigns helped convince Banda to backtrack on his suspension threat. Very few students at Garfield ended up taking the MAP test this winter, which resulted in more instructional time. Because we dramatically reduced testing, our libraries were liberated for their intended use. However, our struggle has just begun. Banda has vowed there will still be "consequences" for our boycott. In the spring we face the third and final round of MAP testing for the year—the scores that the district wants to use to measure teacher effectiveness. This will require another major mobilization.

For the boycotting schools, our biggest challenge will be collaborating to design an alternative to the MAP test. As you would expect, there is a range of opinions among the boycotters about what should replace the MAP. Some of my colleagues propose replacing the MAP with another test that is aligned to our curriculum. Others, myself included, believe that portfolios and performance-based assessments would be better because they are more directly tied to the curriculum of specific teachers, can help cultivate skills and talents not measured by a standardized test, and allow for the assessment of students over time, rather than on a random day."

Copyright © 2013 Rethinking Schools. Reprinted with permission.
Hagopian, Jesse. 2013. "Seattle Test Boycott: Our Destination Is Not on the MAP." Rethinking Schools 27 (3): 7-8.

About the Author
Jesse Hagopian teaches history at Garfield High School in Seattle and is a founding member of Social Equality Educators. He is a contributing author to Education and Capitalism: Struggles for Learning and Liberation and 101 Changemakers: Rebels and Radicals Who Changed U.S. History.

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