Teachers at a second elementary school in our area are voicing their support for others around the district who are declining to give the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) tests. As with Sanislo Elementary School‘s teachers (see their letter here), Schmitz Park Elementary teachers are sending a letter voicing support without going so far as to say they won’t give the tests. We received this tonight:
Dear Superintendent Banda,
The staff of Schmitz Park, by a nearly unanimous vote, joins in its support of Garfield High and all other schools and individuals around the district that boycott the MAP test. We agree with Garfield’s position about the harmful, ineffective, and wasteful nature of the MAP test and its deleterious impact on instructional time and consequently student achievement. We join SEA in asking you to not discipline our colleagues for standing up and speaking the truth.
We also agree with the Sanislo Elementary letter of support, which points out a deep concern around MAP. Apparently, district officials told Garfield staff the test was “not valid” because the margin of error can exceed the expected growth score. Given this information, it seems unthinkable that these scores would be used to determine the “effectiveness” of teachers. The teacher’s collective bargaining agreement allows the use of low scores to impact the placement of teachers into more comprehensive evaluations, en route to performance improvement plans and termination. The threatening of teachers with invalid data simply is not right.
There is a similar problem brewing in the elementary schools. Not only are our teachers concerned about the time taken away from instruction to administer the test, but the current version of the MAP test is aligned with the old state standards and it is clearly an unsuitable vehicle for evaluating students currently being taught the new required Common Core Standards. So not only are the results of little instructional value, but this discrepancy between what is taught and what is measured will yield falsely low scores making the MAP test invalid for the purpose of measuring student growth/teacher effectiveness.
The idea of using MAP scores as a component of teacher evaluations is disconcerting and needs to be addressed. As such, in response to Superintendent Banda’s e-mail of January 14, we recommend suspending the MAP requirement until the promised review has been completed.
We hope you will interpret the “boycotts” around the district not as disrespect but as a sign of deep concern and needed change.
Schmitz Park Elementary School Staff
Here again is Superintendent José Banda‘s published message about the MAP revolt from earlier this week, saying the district will review it, but needs right now to proceed with it.
ADDED 11:25 AM MONDAY: The Schmitz Park teachers have revised their letter to add the word “nearly” before “unanimous,” and at their request, we have also added that word (toward the start of the letter) to reflect the change.