We've received a copy of the sternly worded letter sent by Seattle School District officials that threatens teachers with a 10-day suspension for insubordination unless those teachers drop their boycott of an unpopular standardized test.
As I mentioned last night, teachers packed a school board meeting to protest the district-mandated Measures of Academic Progress (MAP). They are supposed to administer the exam—which is criticized for being redundant and ineffective at gauging student performance—by February 22. The district contends the test is necessary under state law.
Sent yesterday by the district's assistant superintendent for HR, Paul Apostle, the letter includes sample language for a directive that can be given to teachers participating in the boycott. "I acknowledge that you are certainly entitled to your opinion," the sample letter explains, adding, "Your disagreement with the appropriateness of the MAP assessment, however, does not excuse your obligation..."
The complete letter from the district to principals, including that letter to teachers, is below the jump.
From: Office of Public Affairs
Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 10:26 AM
Subject: MAP assessment information for Principals
The following is an important email from Paul Apostle, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources
I am writing today to help provide support and guidance around the recent issue of certain teachers refusing to administer the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment to our students.
We ask that each principal by the end of the school day provide a clear directive to all administrative and teaching staff that the MAP assessment must be administered to students of tested subjects on the timeline established by you, their building administrator. State law requires that teachers implement a course of study in accordance with District directives. Administering the MAP to students of tested subjects is a District directive.
If a teacher refuses to administer the MAP assessment after a clear direction by you, such conduct is considered insubordination. When a staff member engages in insubordination, such action will lead to appropriate disciplinary action as outlined in School Board Policy 5281 Staff Disciplinary Action and Discharge. Previously, the discipline imposed by the District when a teacher refused to administer a required assessment was a 10-day, unpaid suspension.
If you have staff who have either not administered the test on the date required by you or have given you clear notice that they do not intend to administer the test, you are required to give that staff person this communication, preferably in a letter or email that you send and hand to them:
State law requires that teachers implement a course of study in accordance with District directives. As you are aware, the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) is a District assessment that teachers are required to administer. You are receiving this communication because you are required to administer this assessment. Based on information that I possess, I believe you have either refused to or have declined to administer the MAP assessment.
For staff who disagree with MAP assessment, I acknowledge that you are certainly entitled to your opinion. Your disagreement with the appropriateness of the MAP assessment, however, does not excuse your obligation as a certificated employee to provide this assessment consistent with District directives.
Thus, I am specifically requiring that you administer the MAP assessment by the Feb. 22, 2013 deadline, notwithstanding your apparent disagreement with the District’s decision to require this assessment. Your refusal to administer the assessment consistent with District requirements and this directive will lead to discipline. Discipline that has been imposed for such insubordination in the past has included a 10-day, unpaid suspension. Please contact me immediately if you have concerns over getting this assessment done by Feb. 22, 2013.
Principal, School Name
We understand that there are concerns around MAP assessments, and Superintendent Banda will soon announce details about a Joint Task Force on Assessments & Measuring Academic Progress. This task force, which will include principals, teachers and central office staff, will report recommendations to the Superintendent before the end of the school year. This is a productive way to work together on this issue. In the meantime, many of our principals and teachers find the MAP assessment to be very helpful. We want to be consistent across the district in administering this to all required students.
As a reminder, all MAP assessments should be administered by Feb. 22. If for logistical reasons your staff are unable to administer the MAP assessment by that deadline, an extension may be granted by your Executive Director.
If you have questions, please work with your Executive Directors of Schools. If you need additional support, please contact me at (206) 510-6697.
Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources