Saturday, September 14, 2013

MAP test company to debate MAP boycott teachers | I AM AN EDUCATOR

MAP test company to debate MAP boycott teachers | I AM AN EDUCATOR:

MAP test company to debate MAP boycott teachers

The NWEA, the producer of the MAP test, will be sending a representative to Seattle on Tuesday, September 17th to join a panel with two educators who have been leaders in the movement to boycott the MAP test in Seattle.  With a national movement developing last year to “Scrap The MAP” and replace it with authentic forms of assessment, the NWEA is feeling pressure to defend its deeply flawed assessment and protect its market share.  It is my hope that we will be able to get video of the event out to everyone who couldn’t make it so you too can witness the public dismantling of the standardized test pushers. I will be there front and center but I will be careful not to sit to close as the sparks might start flying.
ALL OUT for panel discussion/debate at Seattle’s Town Hall:

To Test or Not to Test: Standardized Testing in Our Public Schools.

Tuesday evening, September 17

The discussion happens upstairs in the Great Hall beginning at 7:30 p.m.
 In the wild wake of last spring’s successful boycott of the Measures of Academic Progress Test – “the Map Test” – by Seattle public school teachers, and now with school districts throughout the region continuing to insist that teacher evaluations be partially tied to student test scores, Town Hall Seattle presents a public forum on the topic: 
To Test or Not to Test: Standardized Testing in Our Public Schools.
Please join the discussion on Tuesday evening, September 17, when four panelists representing a spectrum of opinions will make arguments for or against standardized testing, and then take questions from the public (that would be you).
Find out where standardized tests came from – a sordid history  and where they might be headed. Who supports them, and why? What makes some so opposed to these “bubble” tests? What, if anything, do these “instruments” accurately measure? How do our children benefit from such evaluations? How do education “reformers” use standardized test results to replace public schools with for-profit charter schools? And could this happen here?
During this last school year, teachers from Seattle’s Garfield High School stood up to district managers and refused  without a single dissent among its faculty  to give their students the MAP test. Their boycott spread first to other schools in Seattle, and then quickly inspired teachers, parents and students across the country, and eventually across the globe, to take creative stands against the onslaught of standardized tests.
Nevertheless, the advocate of school “reform” continue to lobby for more bubble testing. Washington State spends more on such tests than any other state: $100 million annually. It seems clear the two sides are on a collision course. And the first of these face-to-face run-ins will be at Town Hall.
This event should be a Serious Intellectual Brawl. We need you there.
The panelists include:
• Jason Mendenhall, currently works for the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), the  Portland, Oregon, company that designs and sells the MAP Test. During his tenure at NWEA, Jason has been Director of Supplemental Educational Programs, Director of Product Strategy, and Director of Strategic Implementation. Jason has eight years experience as a secondary and post-secondary educator.
• Chris Eide, Executive Director of Teachers United, a collection of Washington teachers generally supportive of standardized testing and funded by a $650,00 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He has taught in Seattle Public Schools, as well as in New York City and Houston.
• Wayne Au, associate professor of education from the University of Washington and an editor of Rethinking Schools, a social-justice magazine and publisher steadfastly opposed to standardized testing, as well as to the current education “reform” movement that promotes such tests. Wayne is a leading expert on the subject of standardized testing and is the author of Unequal By Design: The Standardization of Inequality, Pencils Down: Rethinking High Stakes Testing and Accountability in Public Schools.
• Sandra Brettler, an award-winning, National Board-Certified teacher at Thornton Creek Elementary in northeast Seattle. She earned a Ph.D in neuroscience with a focus on understanding how the brain integrates information and encodes learning. Sandra boycotted the Map-test last year with her colleagues at Thornton Creek.  As an elementary school teacher, she will be asked by Seattle Public Schools to administer the exam to her students this year. (Only high-school students were exempted from giving the MAP test by the district, in response to the teacher-led boycott.)
• Dean Paton, Seattle correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor and a longtime education reporter, is host and moderator. As a young reporter, he also worked as the Associated Press boxing writer in Seattle, which may come in handy at this event.
Please forward this announcement to your friends, and then join us for this urgent public debate. Notch your calendar now.
Tickets are $5 at the door or $6.16 online, in advance, at the Town Hall website. Get more details about the event here as well:
The discussion happens upstairs in the Great Hall beginning at 7:30 p.m. and concludes by 9. Enter on 8th Avenue.
Town Hall’s address is 1119 8th Avenue at Seneca Street, Seattle, 98101. Telephone 206-652-4255. Metro’s Number 2 bus serves the hall directly.

UPDATE: Opt-Out/Refusal Guides for each State | United Opt Out National

Opt-Out/Refusal Guides for each State | United Opt Out National:

Portfolio Letter: Demand Authentic Assessment
Please  consider adding this portfolio letter to your opt out/refusal letter this year.  We are finding that report card grades for the 2013-2014 school year are increasingly based on corporate test scores. Student work is counting for less when determining … MORE


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Good news: after sending an opt out letter (seen below) I received three letters back, from my high school student’s principal, math teacher and English teacher.
Each letter said that my child may take a paper-and-pencil alternative to the Common Core tests without any academic penalty. The school is apparently not enforcing the absurd current state law which states that schools must punish the student who opts out with a non-proficient score. Hooray!
I’m sharing this, so that anyone may create or adapt this letter for their use, if they like.
Dear Principal and Teachers,
Thank you for all you do for our kids. I sincerely appreciate your hard work, dedication and caring.
I am writing to let you know that ___________ my 11th grade child, will not be participating in the state’s new AIR/SAGE tests this year or next year. These are the Common Core aligned tests that feed into the federally funded State Longitudinal Database System and measure not only math and English, but also nonacademic, personal information including behavioral indicators (according to recent state law) and are to be used in grading schools.
I would like my child to have a pencil and paper alternative that is to be used ONLY at the school level, and not sent to the district or state levels.
I believe that this choice may be hurting this high school’s “school grade” so I apologize. It is not my wish to harm this excellent school in any way. I am also aware that it may hurt my child’s academic grade. Rather than getting an opt-out score, a non-test taker may get a non-proficient score. This is a tragedy for students and schools.
Our state leaders have created this situation that punishes schools and students when parents opt out of the tests.
(–You can quit reading here. But if you are interested in why I am writing this letter to opt my child out of the tests, please read on.)
Attached are PDF copies of the original bill SB175 and the amended bill put forth by the USOE at the Aug 2. meeting. On line 164 of the amended bill is what the USOE added. This is the part of the bill I find morally wrong.
164 (2) the parent makes a written request consistent with 165 LEA administrative timelines and procedures that the parent’s
166 student not be tested. Students not tested due to parent 167 request shall receive a non-proficient score which shall be
168 used in school accountability calculations.
A parent should be able to opt their child out of the invasive computer adaptive testing without the child receiving a non-proficient score, after that child has spent an entire year in school and has received grades for the work that could easily determine proficiency.
A single test should not determine the success of a child’s school year in one swoop, any more than it should determine the grade for that school for the year. There are too many variables to consider yet testing is the only criteria by which a school (or student?) will be seriously graded. I realize there are other minor components that will factor into the grading of a school, but the main emphasis will be on the test scores.
There are many things wrong in education not the least of which are laws that tighten control over our children while telling parents what’s good for them. I should not have to pull my children out of school in order to protect them from invasive and experimental testing.
1. The AIR/SAGE/Utah Common Core tests, which test math and English, are nontransparent and secretive.
2. I don’t believe in the Common Core standards upon which these tests are based. They are experimental. They snub classic literature. They dilute classical math. They were developed and copyrighted by two D.C. private clubs who have no accountability to me as a teacher or as a voter– (the NGA and CCSSO). They give power to a centralized system that is contrary to the constitutional concept of separating powers and empowering local control.
3. The tests feed the national data collection beast via the 50 nationally interoperable State Longitudinal Database Systems (SLDS), feed the P-20 child tracking/surveillance program, and will gather nonacademic, private information on students, including “behavioral indicators” according to Utah state law HB5.
4. It’s nobody’s business, even in Utah, how my individual child does in math and English –except the teacher’s business, and mine. My child’s not to be counted as the government’s “human capital” and the government’s not an invited “stakeholder” in my child’s education, career, or life. Too bad for Governor Herbert’s darling, Prosperity 2020! Remember this: business leaders, governments and legislatures don’t have authority to use tests and data collection to snoop on any child (or adult) for “collective economic prosperity” or for any other reason.
5. Overemphasis on high-stakes testing hurts kids and wastes instructional time.
6. Overemphasis on high-stakes testing hurts teachers. They will be controlled by how students do on the tests; this limits teachers’ autonomy in the classroom and is an insult to teachers’ professional judgment.

DELAWARE TOWNSHIP — While his eighth-grade classmates took state standardized tests this spring, Tucker Richardson woke up late and played basketball in his Delaware Township driveway.
Tucker's parents, Wendy and Will, are part of a small but growing number of parents nationwide who are ensuring their children do not participate in standardized testing. They are opposed to the practice for myriad reasons, including the stress they believe it brings on young students, discomfort with tests being used to gauge teacher performance, fear that corporate influence is overriding education and concern that test prep is narrowing curricula down to the minimum needed to pass an exam.
"I'm just opposed to the way high-stakes testing is being used to evaluate teachers, the way it's being used to define what's happening in classrooms," said Will Richardson, an educational consultant and former teacher. "These tests are not meant to evaluate teachers. They're meant to find out what kids know."
The opt-out movement, as it is called, is small but growing. It has been brewing for several years via word of mouth and social media, especially through Facebook. The "Long Island opt-out info" Facebook page has more than 9,200 members, many of them rallying at a Port Jefferson Station, N.Y., high school last month after a group of principals called this year's state tests — and their low scores — a "debacle."
In Washington. D.C., a group of parents and students protested outside the Department of Education. Students and teachers at a Seattle high school boycotted a standardized test,
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