Press conference on SBAC testing:
Opt Out Movement Biggest in Seattle’s History
A gathering of community groups, parents, teachers and students from across Seattle question the equity and validity of SBAC testing
Garfield High School teachers and parents to announce their opposition to high stakes testing.
Technological malfunctions are creating testing chaos in schools.
Seattle/King County NAACP to announce position on the new SBAC exam.
Opt out numbers from schools around Seattle will be revealed.
Who: Parents, students and teachers from schools across Seattle, including Nathan Hale, Garfield, NOVA, Franklin, Chief Sealth, Dearborn Park, and more.
- Seattle Opt Out group
- Parents Across America (PAA), Seattle Chapter
- Social Equality Educators (SEE)
- NAACP, Seattle/King County Chapter
What: Press conference on growing opposition to SBAC testing
When: Tuesday April 7, 4:00pm
Where: Seattle NAACP Headquarters, 715 23rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98112
Why: The movement to opt out of high-stakes, standardized testing in Seattle has never been bigger. A growing number of schools around Seattle are experiencing unprecedented numbers of parents opting their students out of standardized testing, especially the new SBAC exams. Parent Carolyn Leith said, “I’m opting my daughters out of SBAC testing this year because these test are robbing our children of valuable class time. My children are developing many skills–such as collaboration, creativity, and problem solving–that can’t be measured by this test.”
At the press conference, the newly formed organization “Seattle Opt Out” will reveal the numbers they have collected so far of how many students have opted out of the exams. Parent opt out leader Anastaisa Samuelsen said, “Our newly formed Seattle Opt Out group has grown significantly, and raised parent’s awareness in every part of our District. We have organized several regional forums around Seattle–and more are forthcoming–attended by dozens and dozens of parents. Parents who vote. Many have shared heartbreaking stories about the undue stress testing brings, and the dislike of school their children are developing. We are very concerned about this.” Parents from several of these schools will be on hand to explain why they have opted their students out of the tests including:
- SPED parents who will talk about how these tests unfairly punish and demoralize their students
- ELL parents who will address why these tests are not culturally or linguistically appropriate
- Parents of color who will talk about the way these exams maintain institutional racism
This parent uprising against the SBAC is also being supported by teachers. Teachers at Nathan Hale, Chief Sealth, Ingram, Schmitz Park Elementary, Garfield, and others have issued statements about their many objections to SBAC testing. As award winning Nathan Hale history teacher Doug Edelstein said, “Many teachers, educational researchers and parents have determined after responsible research that the SBAC tests could cause harms to our students. There is no valid reason to force these tests on Seattle kids.” Garfield High School Language Arts teacher Heather Robison added, “My conscience demands that I publicly and emphatically assert that high-stakes standardized tests like the SBA as graduation requirements and teacher evaluations tools are detrimental to the meaningful education of ALL of my students, and administering such exams goes against my professional and moral judgment.” Garfield High School teacher Jesse Hagopian said, “The cut score for SBAC testing was deliberately set so as to fail around 60% of the students who take the test. None of us teachers got into our profession to demoralize students and we find this political decision to artificially create mass failure reprehensible and pedagogically unsound.”
The Seattle Education Association, the teacher’s union for the city, recently passed a resolution calling for the suspension of the use of SBAC testing and stating “Seattle teachers cannot…in good conscience implement the new, unproven Smarter Balanced assessments.” (See: https://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2015/03/15/the-seattle-education-association-calls-to-suspend-the-sbac/ )
Moreover, some Seattle School Board members are working to try to get a motion passed that would suspend SBAC testing for two years while it is studied.
Join us for a lively discussion on the struggle for authentic assessment.
Anastasia Samuelsen, Seattle Opt Out, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Rita Green, Seattle/King County NAACP Chair of Education, email@example.com