Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Larry Nyland said Thursday teachers who refuse to administer new Common Core exams could face consequences if they don’t give enough advance warning for other testing arrangements to be made.
Seattle teachers who boycott state tests that Seattle students started taking earlier this month can be fired if they don’t give their supervisors enough notice, Seattle schools chief Larry Nyland told teachers Thursday in an email.
Teachers who want to boycott the tests but give advance warning — allowing their school to make other arrangements for testing — may face less dire consequences.
In his email, Nyland said that despite concerns about lost instructional time and lower scores under the new, tougher exams, called Smarter Balanced, he takes his oath to uphold state and federal law seriously.
The tests are a state requirement, he said, and a federal one, too, under the law known as No Child Left Behind.
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At one Seattle school, Nathan Hale High, the staff has already said it will not give the new exams to its juniors this year. Nyland and state schools chief Randy Dorn have said that if that happens, it could jeopardize federal funding.
At least a few Seattle parents also have said they will refuse to allow their children to take the tests. Two Seattle School Board members suggested suspending the tests, but that proposal failed to make it onto a recent School Board agenda.
Seattle made national headlines in 2013 when teachers at Garfield High and a number of other schools boycotted a different, district-mandated test.
At the time, then-Superintendent José Banda threatened the teachers with discipline but didn’t ultimately give them any, instead arranging for administrators and others to give the tests.
The Smarter Balanced tests — designed to be taken entirely on computer — are personalized, giving students harder or easier questions based on how well they are doing. Based on data from field tests across 21 states, between 60 and 70 percent of students who take the exams are expected to fail them the first time.