Teachers at Seattle’s Garfield High School, announced on January 10, 2013, they would no longer be willing to proctor the flawed and expensive “Measures of Academic Progress” standardized tests the school district requires at every grade level, starting in kindergarten. The computer-administered test, given three times per year to students at every grade level in Seattle, provides a summary score on student performance in reading and math. The Seattle Schools purchases the tests from a company (NWEA), despite an ethics ruling that the purchase was a conflict of interest for the former superintendent. Further, the tests are not aligned with curriculum in Seattle schools.
Thousands of people from around the country have signed on to a petition supporting the Garfield teachers.
The school’s PTSA and student body organization have stood behind the teachers. Other schools in the district are starting to line up behind Garfield, too, starting with Ballard High.
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Garfield High has about 1700 students with a diverse student population (42% White, 27% Black , 24% Asian). The school was established as a math and science magnet school in the 1970s for purposes of racial desegregation through voluntary busing. The school is a musical powerhouse – a jazz band that four times has won the Essentially Ellington National Jazz Band Competition at Lincoln Center, and where legendary artists were students, including Ernestine Anderson, Jimi Hendrix, and Quincy Jones. Martin Luther King chose to speak at Garfield when he made his only visit to Seattle in 1961 and the swimming pool is named after Medgar Evers. It’s a school with a history and a lot of soul.