Education

Teachers protest standardized testing

A national showdown over standardized tests shows no signs of slowing, with teachers unions across the country refusing to administer the tests—and enjoying support from students who don’t like filling in bubbles.

A recent strike, which began two months ago at Garfield High School in Seattle, Washington, when teachers and students refused to participate in the Measures of Academic Progress test, has galvanized teachers unions across the country. One Seattle teacher even alluded to the recent anti-testing movement as the “Teachers’ Spring.”

“We are just seeing the very beginning of this testing revolt,” said Jesse Hagopian, a Seattle teacher and union activist, in a statement to Reuters.

Hagopian did not respond to requests for comment.

The deadline for Garfield teachers to administer the test has passed. Seattle Superintendent Jose Banda is currently reviewing the situation and will soon make an announcement regarding “any disciplinary action that might be administered for those teachers and staff who did not give the test as required,” wrote Teresa Wippel, a spokesperson for Seattle Public Schools, in an email to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Teachers who oppose standardized testing complain that it wastes valuable classroom time. But education authorities, including President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan, believe students need to be tested in order to judge whether their teachers are effective. Duncan recently recommended testing students at least once per year.

The Chicago Teachers Union, which clashed with Mayor Rahm Emanuel over teacher accountability measures last year, strongly supports the Garfield teachers, and has stepped up its anti-testing campaign accordingly. Chicago teachers recently sent a letter to Duncan urging him to abandon his pro-test stance.

“We steadfastly reject attempts pushed by testing companies to devise standardized assessments to measure progress in reading, writing, and speaking,” said the letter.

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