Despite protests, local students will take controversial test

Despite protests, local students will take controversial test »Play Video
SEATTLE -- Local students are back to taking a controversial standardized test, but it's not being given to them by their teachers.

Teachers are Garfield High School unanimously voted to refuse to give what's called the MAP, or Measure of Academic Progress test. Those teachers are standing their ground, but administrators and substitute teachers are now administering the test.

"They pulled me out of class and said I had to take it, so I guessed on all the questions and went back to class," said student Antoine Patton.

Freshman at Garfield sat in front of computer screens on Tuesday taking the MAP test, which covers math, science and language arts.

"Well, I just guessed on the entire question because it doesn't count for your grade or anything, so basically it's a waste of time," said freshman Torrey Brittingham.

Garfield teachers gained local and national support last month when they stood united in their refusal to give the test, and Tuesday's move didn't sit well with many of them.

"I think it shows a callous disrespect for the teachers at Garfield High School to try to go around our will and to try to go around our professional judgment," said teacher Jesse Hagopian.

Hagopian said teachers met with Superintendent Jose Banda on Monday. He said they were told that administrators or substitute teachers would take their students out of class to administer the test.

"We believe that MAP is valuable, or some type of assessment is valuable, to show students where they are through the process of the year," said Teresa Wippel with Seattle Public Schools.

Students were given a flyer Tuesday morning informing them they could opt out of the test without disciplinary action.

"I didn't take it because it doesn't count against your grade and lots of people don't find it to be useful anyway, so it was like I didn't see the point in taking it," said freshman Zakiyah Fredie.

Even though the test is being given, teachers still refuse to administer it and could still be disciplined for that decision. At first, Banda said the teachers could be slapped with a 10-day suspension without pay.

"At a meeting with him yesterday, he verbally said that was too far. Right, so that's a victory, but it's only a part of the struggle because the real victory will be when we get bad assessments out of the Seattle public schools," Hagopian said.

The protests will continue, and district officials say they'll look at each teacher's case individually.

Wednesday is the national Day of Action in support of the MAP protest. There will be a rally at 3:20 p.m. At Chief Sealth High School.