The over-emphasis on standardized testing has set off a revolt among many teachers, who believe that testing is overtaking an emphasis on aAi??holisticAi??curriculum.

In Seattle, teachers at Garfield High School actually decided to refuse to administer the local “Measures of Academic Progress” (MAP) standardized test. Soon after, teachers at nearby Ballard High School decided to refuse to administer the test as well.

The teachers write in an open letter that the test “remains unwanted and unneeded and unsolicited by SPS [Seattle Public Schools] professional classroom educators,” and that it has no bearing on the students’ graduation or course credits.

I talked to Kris McBride, who is an academic dean and testing coordinator at Garfield. “We’re not opposing any of the high-stakes testing that are kids are required to take. We’re only opposing this test, the MAP,” she told me. “Our staffAi??membersAi??have said, this test, it’s not working, it was brought on within a scandal, our superintendent sat on the board of the committee that makes this test….It was brought in under pretty ridiculous circumstancesAi??andAi??sort of shoved down our throat. A lot of people who sat on our committee said this test doesn’t even match our curriculum….There’s just no way it’s a good measure of what our students are supposed to learn….our Algebra teachers saying my kids are in an Algebra 1 class, they’re asked to take this test, they go in and sit down and are looking at Geomertry problems on the computer. That doesn’t match the curriculum.”

Remarkably, she told me that there are no practice problems even given to students before they are required to give the exam. She also mentioned it would take 124 class periods to administer this exam to the entire school — a dramatic time sink.

I asked McBride what people can do to help the teachers at Garfield and Ballard. “We’re asking them to send letters to the school district, we’re asking them to call the school district,” she told me (the number is [206] 252-0010).