Yesterday on The Daily Weekly we noted that the local branch of the NAACP has come out in support of Seattle teachers boycotting standardized MAP testing. Apparently the story struck a chord; as of late in the day it had garnered 174 Facebook "Likes".
As the post noted:
In addition to broad concerns over what results of the MAP test actually reflect, the local branch of the NAACP has specific concerns regarding the Seattle School District using the computerized test to determine which students are placed in advance courses - a practice the NAACP says can lead to an "inequitable result" for children of color and those living in poverty.
In an interview with Seattle Weekly Seattle King County NAACP President James Bible says that if it's determined that such a practice creates an inequity for students a complaint to the US Department of Education is possible.
"We have to evaluate whether or not this test leads to inequity," says Bible. "This is an important issue, and our kids are in the balance."
While Seattle Public Schools Spokesperson Teresa Wippel acknowledges that MAP testing is one of a number of ways that students in the district are identified as candidates for the Accelerated Progress Program (APP), she says, in reality, the practice has actually helped Seattle Schools identify more children of color or challenged economic background as APP qualified - not less. She calls the NAACP's argument in this regard "kind of an interesting statement."
In its critique of MAP testing, the Seattle King County NAACP also argues that tying up school computer labs for weeks at a time administering the tests can have a detrimental effect on poorer students who don't have the luxury of computer access at home. The organization contends that "this level of academic interruption is unacceptable."
Speaking for the District, Wippel acknowledges that MAP testing isn't perfect; she says no test is. Instead, she says testing is just one important part of the academic environment, while arguing that we owe it to our children to be able to measure and track where they're at and how they're progressing. Wippel points out that prior to this school year the District had already made the decision to evaluate MAP testing once the year concluded, with Superintendent Jose Banda having called for a task force to look into the matter. As far as the 2012-13 school year is concerned, Wippel says the District has already committed to seeing MAP testing carried out.
Bible, however, isn't soothed.
"As far as we're concerned, the focus group has spoken," says Bible. "The focus group is teachers."
Not surprisingly, at least one Daily Weekly commenter isn't buying what the District is selling.
As commenter CitizensArrest writes:
DEAD GIVE AWAY, "Speaking for the District, Wippel acknowledges that MAP testing isn't perfect; she says no test is." This is the false narrative that corporate reformers have been painting teachers and parents and all who oppose them with, that they all want something that's "perfect". No teacher, parent or union leader has ever said that. Corporate reformers such as Rhee-ject were the first to claim this. This is the lie being told to divert attention from the fact based reasons testing and particularly test based teacher evaluations are opposed. Don't fall for it, slam them on the misrepresentation of the truth.