Garfield Teacher Jesse Hagopian Brings Anti-Testing Message to NBC News

Garfield High School history teacher Jesse Hagopian continues to raise his profile nationally with his participation in the just concluded Education Nation Summit, convened by NBC News.

You might remember that Hagopian was one of the instigators of the MAP test boycott last spring that got national media coverage and set fire to an array of anti-testing protests across the country. So enthralled were some teachers with the boycott--which gave voice to a deeply-felt belief that over-testing is stifling creativity and taking away from valuable class time—that they flooded Garfield with pizza, roses and other gestures of support.

Hagopian raised cheers too when he appeared on a Monday panel that was part of the three-day summit. His moment in the sun came when NBC host Brian William asked, “You’re not against testing are you?”

“Well teachers invented testing. So I’m not against testing. I’m not against assessment,” he replied. “What I am against is the inundation of our classroom with standardized testing.”

He cited Chicago, where a parent told him even kindergarteners take 14 tests a year, and Finland, which he said had but one standardized test but ranks among the highest in the world in education.

His best zinger, though, came as he argued that education is “not just about being career-ready and college-ready” but “solving real-life problems.” He went on: “We have endless wars, economic stagnation, and we have mass incarceration. And climate change is threatening the future of humanity—and none of those problems can be solved by bubbling A, B, C or D,”

Not shy about promoting himself, Hagopian called attention to his televised appearance with a mass e-mail and a post on his blog. Does he have other ambitions besides high-school teaching? One gets that feeling from his blog, with its lofty tagline--“I am an educator: Jesse Hagopian’s Lesson Plan for Liberation”--and sections devoted to a growing list of media and in-person appearances across the country.

 
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