There was a press conference this week on the growing resistance to the Common Core SBAC in Seattle.

Parents, students and teachers from schools across Seattle, including Nathan Hale, Garfield, NOVA, Franklin and Chief Sealth high schools, Dearborn Park Elementary School, the Seattle Opt Out group, Parents Across America, Washington State, the Seattle Chapter of Social Equality Educators (SEE) and the NAACP, Seattle/King County Chapter spoke up about the SBAC testing.

One of the big announcements was made by Jesse Hagopian, a teacher at Garfield High School and founding member of SEE.

To follow is what he posted about his remarks on his website I Am an Educator.

I am excited to announce that the parent opt out campaign at Garfield High School has resulted in 221 students already opting out of the 11th grade SBA with two weeks to go before the test is supposed to be administered!

In fact, so many students have opted out of the Common Core tests that the decision whether to administer the test or not was taken away from Garfield educators; with so many opt outs, the majority students in every class wouldn’t be taking the exam and therefore it is against the testing rules to have them in the computer lab while the test is being administered. What this means is that the teachers are no longer being asked to administer the exam and instead the school administration will have to pull the individual students out who will be taking the test and take them to the computer lab.

The fact that we have scored this resounding victory against Common Core testing, before the mass flunking of our students with an invalid test, is a wonderful thing. And it isn’t only Garfield and Nathan Hale—hundreds of students have opted out of the SBA test at Ingraham High School, and Roosevelt High School. In fact, with dozens of schools across Seattle with parents reporting opt outs, the city is now experiencing the most opt outs in its history. These tests are designed to obscure the things that matter most—such as collaboration towards a common goal. Seattle’s educational leaders at schools across Seattle are teaching an immeasurable lesson by demonstrating the power of collective action against injustice.

And from the Garfield Student Union:


We are leading a movement in protest of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC.) Here are several reasons why we oppose the SBAC and its consequences.

• The SBAC is unnecessary and not required for graduation if a student has passed the High School Proficiency Exam (HSPE.)
• Data from initial SBAC testing indicate that only 30 to 35 percent of students are expected to pass. This is setting up 70 percent of our students for failure and will lead to increased student anxiety and a decrease in student morale.
• Students who choose not to opt-out of taking the SBAC will miss two full days of valuable class time to take the reading and math portions of the SBAC. This interferes with preparation for final exams and Advanced Placement exams.
• All of our computers will be unavailable to students and teachers during the week of SBAC testing because the assessment is administered on computers. Since 31 percent of our student body is on free or reduced lunch, this standardized test disproportionately and inequitably impacts our lower income students, many of whom rely on access to school computers for classwork and studying.

Already, over 220 Garfield students, 55 percent of our junior class, have opted out of taking the SBAC, which demonstrates our clear opposition to this test. The students of Garfield High School have come to this decision on their own accord based on the aforementioned evidence.

2014/15 Garfield High School Class of 2016 ASB Officers

President: Kevin Nguyen
Vice President: Jess Juanich
Secretary: Dawit Nuguse
Treasurer: Maddy Kennard
Senator: Chan Huynh
Advisor: Sydney Bowker
Advisor: Hannah Farrell

To follow is the press conference in its entirety.

Dora Taylor