TAG Stands with Garfield HS Teachers

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The Network of Teacher Activist Groups (TAG), a national coalition of grassroots teacher organizing groups, stands with the teachers of Garfield High School (Seattle, WA) in their collective refusal to administer the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test to their students. Their decision is admirable and inspiring because it sends the powerful message that educators will not sit idly as their students are forced to take a barrage of tests that are a deeply flawed tool for assessing student development, and take away from already limited time and resources for teaching and learning.

To TAG, education is essential to the preservation of civil and human rights and is a tool of human liberation. For us, testing, and more precisely, the reliance on standardized tests as the single measure of student, teacher, and school progress and performance (high stakes testing), is a cornerstone of a national corporate school reform agenda that emphasizes punitive accountability practices at the expense of fostering critical thinking and creativity amongst all students and communities. High stakes testing only further entrenches preexisting racial and economic inequalities and forces educators to comply. High stakes testing is also a key profit making tool that benefits testing companies and other private interests rather than enriching the quality of education all students deserve. The courage of Garfield teachers is so important because it is a direct challenge to the very troubling direction that this corporate model of schooling is taking our schools and our society.

Instead of the tyranny of high stakes testing, TAG stands behind the idea that curricula and pedagogy must be culturally relevant and promote creative, critical and challenging education. We call for ending the reliance on standardized tests as the single measure of student and school progress and performance.  Instead, we call for the creation of assessments that identify school and student needs in order to strengthen, not punish, schools. Comprehensive assessment should include work sampling and performance-based assessment and should be an outgrowth of student-centered curriculum and instruction.

We invite supporters of the boycott to stay informed about what is happening at Garfield and to try to help in whatever capacities they can. Two things we can do are: join the Solidarity with Garfield HS facebook page and sign the online petition in support of the boycott.

As Professor of Education, and Garfield High School Alum, Wayne Au noted, “[h]aving all of the teachers at a school decide to support a boycott of a high-stakes, standardized test is a rare and beautiful thing.” Garfield has lit a flame that we must all carry with us in our respective communities.

In solidarity,
Teacher Activist Groups

Association of Raza Educators: San Diego/Oakland
Education for Liberation Network: National
Educators’ Network for Social Justice (ENSJ): Milwaukee
Metro Atlantans for Public Schools (MAPS)
New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCoRE)
Rethinking Schools (RS)
Teacher Action Group (TAG): Philadelphia
Teacher Activist Group (TAG): Boston
Teachers for Social Justice (TSJ): Chicago
Teachers for Social Justice (T4SJ): San Francisco

 

Calls for Proposals for TAG Conferences

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NYCoRE’s 4th Annual Conference
El Pueblo Unido–The People United
Vanguard High School
317 East 67th Street, New York, NY 10065
Saturday, March 16, 2013

Proposals Due January 2, 2013

Workshop Session Format
Applicants may submit proposals to facilitate a workshop. All sessions will be one hour and 30 minutes in length. Workshops are interactive sessions intended for 15-40 participants and may utilize a variety of formats including small group work, multimedia presentations, open discussion, and break-out sessions.
http://www.nycore.org/conference/

Free Minds, Free People
A national gathering on education justice
Chicago, July 11-14, 2013
www.fmfp.org

Proposals due Friday, January 25

Share your skills, knowledge, stories and love at Free Minds, Free People 2013 by facilitating an activity. We are seeking proposals from youth, teachers, parents, activists, administrators and academics on a wide range of education justice topics. In addition to workshops and panels, we have added an exciting new movement building space to Free Minds, Free People–assemblies. Learn more about how you can present at this critical education justice gathering by visiting http://proposals.fmfp.org/.