How You Can Help the Garfield Teachers & Keep Track of the PDX Test Boycott

Garfield teachers are still in the middle of their protest of the MAP (one of the standardized tests given to students at their Seattle-area high school) and are facing potential punishment in the form of having pay docked.  If you want to make a donation to this good cause, check out this link: How You Can Help the Garfield Teachers.

Also, know that Portland area students have been and continue to be in the spotlight (even in national news) for creating their own standardized testing boycott.

Do you support these boycotts?  How are you getting involved?



Taking a Stand on Standardized Testing (by Guest Blogger Maryann Burton)

It is absolutely time that we take a stand on the standardized testing for school assessment system. As students and administrators in Seattle rally together to put an end to evaluating schools and teachers based on tests that were not intended for this purpose. Portland Public Schools and the Student Unions are following the footsteps of the courageous Garfield High School in Seattle and asking that all high schools in Portland opt-out of taking the standardized test this year.

The tests are an expensive waste of money. They do nothing but put more strain and stress on students and faculties; the results of these state standardized tests are not even looked at by colleges and universities when applying for admissions! PPS and the Student Unions are pushing for change, and in true social justice fashion, they are raising awareness of the fact that it is the system of assessment that needs to be changed—not the teachers administering the assessments.

So let’s stand behind these individuals, let’s make ALL of our schools look like they are “in need of improvement” so that we can focus on improving our means of assessing how a school or teacher is performing. Let’s get back to a time when attention could be paid to the individual student’s needs and direct ourselves away from spending precious time and money on assessments not worth their weight in accuracy.

Note: Maryann Burton is a student in the Educational Equity Capstone at Portland State University.  This course is facilitated by Deb Smith-Arthur. Thank you for joining us, Maryann!

The Importance of Showing Up: National Day of Solidarity with Garfield Teachers Protesting the MAP

11942_10152540892445297_457837529_n(1)Today, I am wearing red to show my support for teachers at Garfield High School in Seattle, WA.  Read here for more details on the MAP standardized test boycott.  While I can’t drive up to Seattle with my two little ones in tow and I won’t be able to make it to the Portland Student Union’s meeting on opting out from Portland’s own standardized tests, (it’s right at baby bed time), I do want to spread the information about what’s happening at Garfield and to show my solidarity.

I am a teacher.  I am a parent.  I am the daughter of a teacher.  I am the wife of a teacher.  I trust teachers to make decisions that are good for students.  I want my children to have teachers who advocate for their best learning opportunities.

I happen to be in a bit of an ebb when it comes to being physically present at a lot of community meetings and rallies.  My children are 3 and almost 2.  I teach full time +.   I work as a service learning coordinator at Rock Creek.  I volunteer to be part of committees that talk about how to get students more socially engaged.  I am at my limit.

Luckily, in this age of social media, I can still show up.  I sign petitions; I share information; I talk to my kids about social activism; I wear red in solidarity.  And in a few years, once the littles sleep through the night , I will be back out there doing what it takes to make my voice even more present.

This is a small life lesson.  There are many ways of “showing up.”  Even if we have barriers or are busy, we can still find ways to show up.  There’s no one right way to be an advocate or to seek social change.  The only bad decision you can make is to do nothing at all.


National Day of Action/Solidarity with Seattle Teachers Against Standardized Testing

National Day of Action/Solidarity with Seattle Teachers Against Standardized Testing

This Wednesday, 02/06 is the National Day of Action to Support Garfield Teachers & Protest the MAP Test.  If you feel that standardized testing has changed education for students and teachers in negative ways, if you feel that standardized tests enforce inequities, if you feel that creativity and critical thinking should be privileged in our teaching, join in!

PPS & Portland Student Unions urge students to boycott Standardized Testing.

There’s change in the air, friends!  If you haven’t been following the Seattle teachers’ boycott of standardized testing at Garfield High School, you should be.  Read about it here.  I had the privilege of attending a workshop at the NW Conference on … Continue reading