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American Federation of Teachers Stand With Garfield High in Seattle!

January 26, 2013

This is good news and I applaud Randi Weingarten for taking the correct stand on the maniacal testing regimes facing our students.  I have posted about Garfield high previously, but in case you haven’t heard: Teachers, parents and students are all standing up and saying NO to more high-stakes testing.

I will give the Garfield High teachers credit, I don’t know of any teachers who yet feel strong enough to band together to do this in any of the schools that I know.  High-stakes testing is still the name of the game, and it has gotten worse in the past year, not better.  Kudos to Garfield High teachers, parents, and students!

The Weekly Update: AFT supports the Garfield High School teachers, armed janitors in Ohio (?) and the rich get richer off of charter schools.

The Weekly Update for the news and views you might have missed.

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From the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Facebook page:

Today AFT President Randi Weingarten sent a message of support to the teachers at Seattle’s Garfield High School who are standing up against the fixation on high-stakes testing by refusing to administer the state’s high-stakes test. The school’s student government and PTSA both voted to support the teachers.

Dear Garfield High School Teachers:

Thank you. Thank you for taking a courageous stand against the fixation on high-stakes testing and its harmful impact on our ability to give our students the high-quality public education they deserve.

Your actions have propelled the national conversation on the impact of high-stakes testing. Every educator understands that appropriate assessments are an integral part of a high-quality education system. But an accountability system obsessed with measuring, which punishes teachers and schools, comes at a huge cost to children. This fixation on testing has narrowed our curriculums and deprived our students of art, music, gym and other subjects that enrich their minds and make learning fun. Teachers have been forced to spend too much time on test preparation and data collection, at the expense of more engaging instruction. Ironically, this fixation on high-stakes testing actually does the opposite of what its proponents tell us it will do.

Learning is more than a test score, and teaching and learning—not testing—should drive classroom instruction. We need to be focused on growing and nurturing the minds of our students—to ensure that they can think creatively and analytically. It’s no longer enough to teach kids to memorize a bunch of numbers and terms; they must think critically and be able to absorb and interpret knowledge. We must ensure that our children are able to not only dream their dreams but also achieve them. At the same time, we must prepare students for civic engagement and to value that we all have a collective responsibility to one another.

The AFT and tens of thousands of educators, parents and students stand with you in this effort. The AFT passed a resolution at our national convention last summer focused on rebalancing our national education priorities and ensuring that teaching and learning drive our education policies. And we are focused on uniting communities across the country around this issue.

Thank you for leading this conversation.

Randi Weingarten

AFT President

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