How much “reform” is too much “reform?”
In the last five years, in the name of education “reform,” lawmakers have passed bills making major changes to teacher evaluations, student assessments and the definition of basic education, among other things. Meanwhile, legislators such as Sen. Rodney Tom and Sen. Steve Hobbs demand even more changes. Yet since House Bill 1209 launched the education reform movement in Washington 1993, elected leaders and other officials have passed or adopted nearly 150 education “reform” laws or policies at the state and national level.
WEA researchers recently compiled these reports:
- Education reform bills since 2008 PDF
- Education reform bills since 1993 PDF
- Education reform policies PDF
- Education reform from the federal government PDF
Seattle educators boycott standardized test
Teachers and staff at Seattle’s Garfield High School. Orca K-8 and Salmon Bay K-8 attracted national attention for their boycott of the district-mandated MAP test. They say the test takes too much time from student learning and that it doesn’t align with district curricula or state standards. The concern over too much student testing extends beyond Seattle. Diane Ravitch, Jonathan Kozol and other education experts signed a letter supporting the boycott.
National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel and AFT President Randi Weingarten also voiced support for the Seattle test boycott.
“Educators across the country know what’s best for their students, and it’s no different for our members in Seattle. We know that having well-designed assessment tools can help students evaluate their own strengths and needs, and help teachers improve. This type of assessment isn’t done in one day or three times a year. It’s done daily, and educators need the flexibility to collaborate with their colleagues and the time to evaluate on-going data to make informed decisions about what’s best for students,” Van Roekel said.
Media reports about the Seattle test boycott
Wall Street Journal: ”…an escalating fight nationwide over using test scores to evaluate teachers and schools.”
KUOW/NPR: “Teachers at Seattle school refuse to give standardized test”
The Stranger Slog: ”I don’t think the district is going to be in a bind to not administer the test between now and end of the year.”
The Seattle Times: ”…this particular test has a number of problems, everything from what it covers to how well it measures achievement.”
Seattle Times op-ed by Jesse Hagopian: ”Garfield teachers refuse to administer an ethics violation.”
Labor Notes: ”A tremendous sword now hangs over these teachers’ necks. They will need our solidarity in the days and weeks ahead.”
The Nation: ”The backlash against high-stakes testing has been percolating in other parts of the country.”
Democracy Now! ”And I just see no use for it at all. And so, I’m not going to do it.”
KING 5 TV: ”Teachers say they understand the risk, but it’s the right thing to do.”
Central District New: ”Garfield High teachers refuse to administer District-mandated MAP test”
KIRO radio: ”…eleven teachers at ORCA alternative school in Seattle are also boycotting the test…”
Capitol Hill Times: ”There have been increasingly public rumblings in the academic world over what some call the overuse of standardized tests…”
West Seattle Blog: ”Garfield and all high school teachers find themselves in a Kafkaesque situation…”
Share other news links about high-stakes testing and quality teaching
Another NPR interview with Diane Ravitch: ”… the unions really aren’t the problem in education.”