Teachers opposed to tests get a warning


Seattle school officials sent a letter Wednesday asking principals to inform all their teachers by day’s end that they will be disciplined if they refuse to give district-required tests.

But at a rally Wednesday afternoon at Seattle Public Schools headquarters, teachers boycotting the Measures of Academic Progress, or MAP, said they would not back down because the tests are an unreliable measure that hurts students.

The boycott, which started at Garfield High, now includes a handful of teachers at ORCA K-8 and 32 staff members at Chief Sealth. Teachers at many other schools have sent letters of support, as have parents and students.

Seattle School Superintendent Jose Banda, at a news conference held shortly before the rally, said he did not intend the letter to be a threat, preferring to meet with the protesting teachers to find solutions to their concerns. He said he’s received emails from many other teachers who find the MAP reading and math exams valuable.

The district sent the letter, he said, because it has a responsibility to let teachers know what consequences they could face. In the past, the letter said, teachers who have refused to give tests have been suspended for 10 days without pay.

The letter set a Feb. 22 deadline for when teachers must administer the tests.

“They’re playing hardball, so game on,” said Matt Carter, one of the protesting teachers from ORCA K-8.