Monthly Archives: September, 2013

Jesse Hagopian’s Testimony On Testing: Educators provide first-hand account to the Congressional Black Caucus of how destructive ed reforms hurt students

Source: Education Votes/edvotes.org

Photo: Seattle educator Jesse Hagopian at CBC Foundation 43rd Annual Legislative Conference

Sign up to follow Jesse’s blog at: http://www.IAmAnEducator.com & Follow Jesse on twitter at: https://twitter.com/JessedHagopian

Educators provide first-hand account of how destructive ed reforms hurt students

by Brian Washington

Jesse Hagopian spent the first three years of his teaching career in the District of Columbia—working with fifth-graders at an elementary school in the Southeast. He recently returned to the nation’s capital to, once again, put his knowledge as an educator to good use—this time giving members of the Congressional Black Caucus, and those attending its Annual Legislative Conference, a lesson about the impact of destructive education reform policies—like high-stakes testing—on children.

“There is a study that just came out that shows high-stakes testing is leading to higher incarceration rates,” said Hagopian, who now teaches World History and American Government at a high school in Seattle, Wash. “Policy makers are just pushing it more and more, and it’s having a destructive impact on our students.”

Hagopian, who recently joined forces with students, parents and other educators in Seattle to take a stand against harmful standardized tests, was one of the featured panelists in a discussion examining the negative impact of the tests and parent trigger laws and how school community partnerships can positively impact learning. ….

[Click here to read the entire article]

Garfield High’s Jesse Hagopian named “Secondary School Teacher of the Year” By Academy of Education Arts and Sciences

Bammy_withMichele

Jesse Hagopian and friend Michele Bollinger (editor of “101 Changemakers”and a teacher in DC) leave the award ceremony with Jesse’s two Bammys on Saturday night, September 21, in Washington DC.

http://www.bammyawards.com

Bammylogo

WASHINGTON, DC – Garfield High School history teacher Jesse Hagopian was named “Secondary School Teacher of the Year” on Saturday by the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences International at a black-tie gala in the nation’s capital. In addition to this “Bammy” Award—the “Grammys for teachers”—the academy also presented Mr. Hagopian with a Special Achievement Bammy.

The annual Bammy awards recognize educators from across the education field: teachers, principals, librarians, nurses, school-board members, superintendents, and others.

Hagopian knew he was one of five finalists nominated in the secondary school category, but he had no idea the academy had decided to give him another Bammy as well. “They had just presented a Special Achievement Bammy to Sandy Hook Elementary School, and all of us in the audience were numb as we thought about the tragedy that school had gone through,” Jesse said afterwards. “And then, out of nowhere, I hear my name being called, and they’re asking me to come up on stage. I’m still thinking about Sandy Hook, and I had no idea what to say right then.”

The presenter told the audience this Bammy was for “a demonstration of courage” because, he said, courage is necessary “when doing what’s in the best interests of children…” He added that sometimes courage “means going against accepted policy, going against what is accepted convention.”

He was, of course, referring to the Garfield faculty’s civilly disobedient “boycott” this past school year of the Measures of Academic Progress– a standardized testing instrument known as the MAP test. After Garfield’s faculty refused – without a single dissenting vote – to administer this test, teachers at several other Seattle schools joined the boycott. Near the end of the school year, Seattle schools’ Superintendent Jose Banda relented, telling high schools they were no longer required to use the MAP test.

“This is a victory for all of the students, parents and teachers at Garfield who refused to give the Michelle Rhee-endorsed Bammy_onStage_lowerResMAP test, and who stood strong in the face of education-corrupting standardized testing that has run over our students,” said Hagopian, as he held up the silver-and-lead-crystal Bammy award. “And this,” he said after a pause, again hoisting the hefty Bammy, “is a victory of all of those teachers and educators who said that you should be both a social-justice advocate in the classroom, and outside the classroom.”

Although Hagopian, a history teacher, was not asked to administer the MAP test, he helped organize with the math, language arts and other teachers for whom the MAP test was a district requirement.  Hagopian, worked hard to build support for the boycott around the city and helped to popularize the struggle around the country.

Hagopian’s attendance at the gala was a coincidental accident of scheduling. The National Education Association had flown him to the capital that same week to testify before the Congressional Black Caucus of the U.S. Congress. He was one of several educators from across the country that testified to the caucus about the negative impacts of standardized testing and school closures on at-risk students and their communities.

Along with teaching history, Hagopian is the Black Student Union adviser at Garfield. He is an associate editor of the acclaimed Rethinking Schools magazine, is a founding member of Social Equality Educators (SEE), and was recipient of the 2012 Abe Keller Foundation award for “excellence and innovation in peace education.” Hagopian is an author, activist, and, since the MAP boycott, an “in-demand” public speaker. Jesse is a contributing author to 101 Changemakers: Rebels and Radicals Who Changed US History (Haymarket Books). Jesse and his wife, Sarah Wilhelm, have two sons, Miles and Satchel.

“Nominees like Jesse Hagopian are demonstrating that there are a lot of people who are not waiting for Superman and are doing excellent work and making a difference in education right now,” said Errol St. Clair Smith, Spokesperson for the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences International. “The nomination alone is a meaningful statement that the nominee is making a difference and is standing out in the field.”

Serena Samar, Garfield High School special education teacher, said of Jesse, “When students take Mr. Hagopian’s class, I know their lives will be changed for the better! His uncanny ability to incorporate history into how it influences each student’s life now has changed many of my student’s educational experiences for the better. They feel empowered and hopeful, which is what the educational experience should be for all students.”

Commentator John Young wrote of Hagopian’s leadership in the MAP test boycott, “Jesse Hagopian is doing more than teaching history. He is answering history’s call.”

Bob George, Save Our Schools National Director, added, “Jesse brings parents, students, and teachers together for the greater good. He is a tireless advocate for his students and his coworkers. His voice is for social justice.”

The Bammys are presented by The Academy of Education Arts and Sciences International, which includes leading educators, education professors, journalists, editors, researchers, commentators, advocates, activists, visionaries and pioneers.  The Academy is comprised of a board of governors, a council of peers, and associate members.

Hagopian is member of Social Equality Educators (SEE), a group of social-justice teachers and education aids that works to build community alliances in purist of quality education, oppose the corporate school-reform agenda, and strengthen the teacher’s union by helping it adopt a social-movement approach to unionism. Social Equality Educators played a vital role in spreading the 2012-2013 MAP test boycott to schools around Seattle, have hosted forums on closing the “opportunity gap” in the Seattle Public Schools, and have staged protests of the Washington State Legislature for its failure to fully fund education.

About the Bammy Awards:

The Bammy Awards honor the contributions of educators in 28 categories across the field.

Presenters announced include: Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association; Marybeth Hertz, executive board member of the Edcamp Foundation; Dan Domenech, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators; Chris Lehmann, founder and co-chair of Educon; Gail Connelly, executive director of the National Association of Elementary School Principals; Angela Maiers, founder of Choose2Matter; Yasmina Vinci, executive director for the National Head Start Association; John Merrow, veteran education reporter at PBS; Donna Mazyck, executive director of the National Association of School Nurses; Tom Whitby and Steven Anderson, co-founders of #Edchat; Caroline Hendrie, executive director of the Education Writers Association. William J. Bushaw, executive director, PDK International Family; Rob Lippincott, senior vice president, PBS Learning Media; and The Northeast Foundation for Children.

The 2013 Bammy Awards were held at the Arena Stage at the Mead Center in Washington, D.C., on September 21(st). The awards were co-hosted by Dr. Mark Ginsberg, dean of the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University, and Errol St. Clair Smith, Emmy-winning correspondent, broadcaster and executive producer of the Bammy Awards.

This year’s celebration included a number of special presentations, including lifetime achievement awards to Randi Weingarten and Nancy Carlsson-Paige, special achievement awards to the founders of Edcamp and #Edchat, a special Bammy presentation to educators from Sandy Hook Elementary School, a salute by the BAM 100 celebrating connected educators, Bammy Awards for the best in education technology, and a very special Bammy Award honoring a truly exceptional student.

“The Bammy Awards were created in response to the relentless national criticism of America’s public schools, while all that is right in American education is largely ignored,” said Errol St. Clair Smith, Bammy Awards executive producer. Modeled on the broad scope of the Oscars, Grammys and Emmys, the Bammy Awards were created to be a cross-discipline honor celebrating the entire education village.

About the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences

The Academy is comprised of over 212 prominent education leaders, including Linda Darling-Hammond, professor of education at Stanford University; Diane Ravitch, former Assistant Secretary of Education; Timothy Shriver, CEO of the Special Olympics; and the executive directors of NAESP, AASA, PTA, NASN, ASBO and NASSP.

CONTACT: Academy of Education Arts and Sciences

Errol St. Clair Smith, 818-539-5971

http://www.bammyawards.org

JESSE HAGPIAN NOMINATED BY ACADEMY OF EDUCATION ARTS AND SCIENCES FOR “SECONDARY SCHOOL TEACHER OF THE YEAR” IN THE 2013 BAMMY AWARDS

Jesse Hagopian has been nominated by the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences for the “Secondary School Teacher of the Year” in the Annual Bammy Awards.

Winners will be announced at a gala red-carpet event tonight, Saturday, September 21st, 2013 beginning at 6:30pm at the Arena Stage at the Mead Center in Washington, D.C. Presented by the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences International, the Bammy Award is a cross-discipline award recognizing educators from across the education field.

You can live stream the award ceremony here: http://www.bammyawards.com/index.php/bammy-awaards-live

About the Bammy Awards:

The Bammy Awards will honor the contributions of educators in 28 categories across the field.

Presenters announced today include: Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association; Marybeth Hertz, executive board member of the Edcamp Foundation; Dan Domenech, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators; Chris Lehmann, founder and co-chair of Educon; Gail Connelly, executive director of the National Association of Elementary School Principals; Angela Maiers, founder of Choose2Matter; Yasmina Vinci, executive director for the National Head Start Association; John Merrow, veteran education reporter at PBS; Donna Mazyck, executive director of the National Association of School Nurses; Tom Whitby and Steven Anderson, co-founders of #Edchat; Caroline Hendrie, executive director of the Education Writers Association. William J. Bushaw, executive director, PDK International Family; Rob Lippincott, senior vice president, PBS Learning Media; and The Northeast Foundation for Children.

The awards will be co-hosted by Dr. Mark Ginsberg, dean of the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University, and Errol St. Clair Smith, Emmy-winning correspondent, broadcaster and executive producer of the Bammy Awards.

This year’s celebration will include a number of special presentations, including lifetime achievement awards to Randi Weingarten and Nancy Carlsson-Paige, special achievement awards to the founders of Edcamp and #Edchat, a special Bammy presentation to educators from Sandy Hook Elementary School, a salute by the BAM 100 celebrating connected educators, Bammy Awards for the best in education technology, and a very special Bammy Award honoring a truly exceptional student.

Modeled on the broad scope of the Oscars, Grammys and Emmys, the Bammy Awards were created to be a cross-discipline honor celebrating the entire education village.

About the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences:

The Academy is comprised of over 212 prominent education leaders, including Linda Darling-Hammond, professor of education at Stanford University; Diane Ravitch, former Assistant Secretary of Education; Timothy Shriver, CEO of the Special Olympics; and the executive directors of NAESP, AASA, PTA, NASN, ASBO and NASSP.

CONTACT: Academy of Education Arts and Sciences

Errol St. Clair Smith, 818-539-5971

http://www.bammyawards.org

Jesse Hagopian’s Fall and Winter Tour

The momentum of the national movement for authentic assessment shows no signs of abating.  Already this year, teachers in St. Paul, MN have attempted to buck state law in defense of quality assessment by attempting to bargain a contract that does not include standardized testing as part of evaluations.  Teachers in California just helped get legislation through the State Congress that puts a moratorium on the testing for the year. A new PDK/Gallup educational survey shows Americans are fed up with high-stakes testing: Only 22% of Americans–less than one in four–believe increased testing has helped the performance of local public schools and 58% reject using student test scores to evaluate teachers.

In an effort to extend last year’s “education spring” into a full-blown democratic revolution in education, Jesse Hagopian is hitting the road this fall to speak to parents, students, teachers, and community members about a vision for education that is about empowering our youth to solve the problems in our society and using authentic forms of assessment to nurture that kind of learning.

You can contact Jesse here to inquire about brining him to your community.

City Date Event Description
Washington, D.C. September 19th, 2013 United States Congress: Congressional Black Caucus hearing. Jesse Hagopian testifies to the Congressional Black Caucus on the impact of high stakes testing and school closures on education
Washington, D.C. September 21th, 2013 Bammy Awards The Academy of Education Arts and Sciences holds an annual award ceremony for teachers, “The Bammy Awards.”  Jesse Hagopian is one of five nominees nationally who is being considered for the honor of “secondary teacher of the year.”
Los Angeles, CA October 4th, 2013 PEAC Conference TBD
Los Angeles, CA October 4th-6th Reclaiming the Promise of Public Schools: Community and Labor Organizing Together for Educational and Social Justice. The NEA Department of Minority Community Organizing is joining with the AFT on this upcoming conference
Maui, HI October, 17th 2013 Teacher Institute  Hawaii Sate Teachers Association is holding its annual conference with the theme, “Leading the Way.” 
Seattle, WA October, 19th Northwest Teaching for Social Justice Conference Rethinking Schools holds this annual conference with hundreds of educations from around the region.  Jesse will join a panel of Garfield teachers and students to discuss, “Scrap The MAP: How to boycott a standardized test.”
Louisville, KA December, 6th Unity Conference This annual social justice conference is sponsored by the Kentucky Alliance civil rights organization.
Orlando, FL Jan., 2014 NEA TBD

Mr. Hagopian Goes To Washington–To testify to the U.S. Congress on testing!

I have been invited to Washington, D.C. to testify before the Congressional Black Caucus of the United States Congress about how the high-stakes standardized testing craze is eroding public education, fueling the school-to-prison-pipeline, and being used to label schools as failures and close them down–particularly schools that serve African American students.

In addition to my work in organizing the MAP test boycott at Garfield High School, I also helped lead a coalition in opposition of the school closures in Seattle in 2008 when five schools were closed that were all predominantly serving students of color. Today, our opposition to those closures has been vindicated as the district is reopening many of them because of over capacity (as we said would happen) and the Department of Education is investigating the Seattle School District over claims of racial bias in the school closures.   I deliver my testimony today and I will do my best to represent to the U.S. Congress our growing movement of educators, students, and parents who want to support our schools, not close them down, and who favor authentic assessments beyond standardized tests.   Wish me luck!

-Jesse Hagopian

The Village Is Burning!

How School Closings Affect African-American Children and Communities

A discussion sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association

Thursday, Sept. 19
1:30 p.m.–3 p.m.

What do the school systems in Chicago, Kansas City,
New York City and Philadelphia have in common?
They all have closed large numbers of public schools,
almost all of which have been in African-American
and Latino neighborhoods.
This session will examine the real impact of school
closings on students and their communities, and how
community-classroom partnerships can positively affect public education. We will also
take a look at so-called parent-trigger laws, high-stakes standardized testing and the
debate about the future of public education.
This enlightening, engaging and possibly provocative conversation will provide insights
and tools to inspire activism among students, educators, parents and community
members that will help guarantee every student access to a great public education.
Join us for this important discussion.

MAP test company to debate MAP boycott teachers

The NWEA, the producer of the MAP test, will be sending a representative to Seattle on Tuesday, September 17th to join a panel with two educators who have been leaders in the movement to boycott the MAP test in Seattle.  With a national movement developing last year to “Scrap The MAP” and replace it with authentic forms of assessment, the NWEA is feeling pressure to defend its deeply flawed assessment and protect its market share.  It is my hope that we will be able to get video of the event out to everyone who couldn’t make it so you too can witness the public dismantling of the standardized test pushers. I will be there front and center but I will be careful not to sit to close as the sparks might start flying.
ALL OUT for panel discussion/debate at Seattle’s Town Hall:

To Test or Not to Test: Standardized Testing in Our Public Schools.

Tuesday evening, September 17

The discussion happens upstairs in the Great Hall beginning at 7:30 p.m.

 In the wild wake of last spring’s successful boycott of the Measures of Academic Progress Test – “the Map Test” – by Seattle public school teachers, and now with school districts throughout the region continuing to insist that teacher evaluations be partially tied to student test scores, Town Hall Seattle presents a public forum on the topic: 
 
To Test or Not to Test: Standardized Testing in Our Public Schools.
 
Please join the discussion on Tuesday evening, September 17, when four panelists representing a spectrum of opinions will make arguments for or against standardized testing, and then take questions from the public (that would be you).
 
Find out where standardized tests came from – a sordid history  and where they might be headed. Who supports them, and why? What makes some so opposed to these “bubble” tests? What, if anything, do these “instruments” accurately measure? How do our children benefit from such evaluations? How do education “reformers” use standardized test results to replace public schools with for-profit charter schools? And could this happen here?
 
During this last school year, teachers from Seattle’s Garfield High School stood up to district managers and refused  without a single dissent among its faculty  to give their students the MAP test. Their boycott spread first to other schools in Seattle, and then quickly inspired teachers, parents and students across the country, and eventually across the globe, to take creative stands against the onslaught of standardized tests.
 
Nevertheless, the advocate of school “reform” continue to lobby for more bubble testing. Washington State spends more on such tests than any other state: $100 million annually. It seems clear the two sides are on a collision course. And the first of these face-to-face run-ins will be at Town Hall.
 
This event should be a Serious Intellectual Brawl. We need you there.
The panelists include:
 
• Jason Mendenhall, currently works for the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), the  Portland, Oregon, company that designs and sells the MAP Test. During his tenure at NWEA, Jason has been Director of Supplemental Educational Programs, Director of Product Strategy, and Director of Strategic Implementation. Jason has eight years experience as a secondary and post-secondary educator.
 
• Chris Eide, Executive Director of Teachers United, a collection of Washington teachers generally supportive of standardized testing and funded by a $650,00 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He has taught in Seattle Public Schools, as well as in New York City and Houston.
 
• Wayne Au, associate professor of education from the University of Washington and an editor of Rethinking Schools, a social-justice magazine and publisher steadfastly opposed to standardized testing, as well as to the current education “reform” movement that promotes such tests. Wayne is a leading expert on the subject of standardized testing and is the author of Unequal By Design: The Standardization of Inequality, Pencils Down: Rethinking High Stakes Testing and Accountability in Public Schools.
 
• Sandra Brettler, an award-winning, National Board-Certified teacher at Thornton Creek Elementary in northeast Seattle. She earned a Ph.D in neuroscience with a focus on understanding how the brain integrates information and encodes learning. Sandra boycotted the Map-test last year with her colleagues at Thornton Creek.  As an elementary school teacher, she will be asked by Seattle Public Schools to administer the exam to her students this year. (Only high-school students were exempted from giving the MAP test by the district, in response to the teacher-led boycott.)
 
• Dean Paton, Seattle correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor and a longtime education reporter, is host and moderator. As a young reporter, he also worked as the Associated Press boxing writer in Seattle, which may come in handy at this event.
 
Please forward this announcement to your friends, and then join us for this urgent public debate. Notch your calendar now.
 
Tickets are $5 at the door or $6.16 online, in advance, at the Town Hall website. Get more details about the event here as well: http://townhallseattle.org/panel-discussionstandardized-testing-in-our-public-schools/
 
The discussion happens upstairs in the Great Hall beginning at 7:30 p.m. and concludes by 9. Enter on 8th Avenue.
 
Town Hall’s address is 1119 8th Avenue at Seneca Street, Seattle, 98101. Telephone 206-652-4255. Metro’s Number 2 bus serves the hall directly.

More Parents Opting Kids Out Of Standardized Tests

As a new school year begins, let me be the first to wish you parents, students, and teachers a year full of intellectual curiosity, problem solving, empowerment, and struggle to make education about more than the ability to eliminate wrong answer choices and shade the box corresponding to the single best answer choice.

As a history teacher I am excited for this year as we are poised to see the largest rebellion against standardized testing this nation has ever experienced.  With the new Common Core State Standards coming on-line in many school districts across the country, many of the current exams that are being used are not aligned to the standards being taught in the classroom–which will only serve to fuel an already growing resistance to high stakes standardized testing.

I am quoted in this piece that ran yesterday for National Public Radio (NPR) that should give you a sense of just how robust our movement for authentic assessment is becoming: 

“While his eighth-grade classmates took state standardized tests this spring, Tucker Richardson woke up late and played basketball in his Delaware Township driveway…”

Here’s to building a mass civil rights movement to defend public education! Boycott, Opt-Out, Walkout!

Sincerely,

Jesse Hagopian

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