Learning in Resistance.

Last weekend, I was in Omaha, Nebraska for a friend’s wedding. I met many new people, exchanged the normal “get to know you” small talk I have been socialized to engage in. Usually these conversations tend to follow a similar format—this is my job, this where I’m from, nice to meet you. Yet I was surprised to see a new pattern emerge this time around. Upon discovering that I am from the Seattle region and am currently training to become a public school teacher, I was asked many times about my thoughts regarding Garfield High School.

Garfield High School in Seattle has become the subject of both local and national headlines, in response to the staff’s recent boycott against the MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) test for students. While many opinions are floating around regarding the ethics and rationality of this decision by the staff at this inner-city public school, I believe the most interesting implication of this phenomenon is the fact that teachers at one school—only ONE school—sparked a national critical conversation about a topic related to our education system and how we should be accountable to our students’ learning.

More schools in Seattle are joining the boycott. There are people organizing on facebook in support of Garfield High School’s staff. Digital Technologies and Social Medias have afforded an incredible opportunity for educators to initiate collective conversations and (potentially) spark mass movements, from within their own schools and classrooms. These viral messages/movements can spread (inter)nationally in a matter of days and weeks (and potentially hours, minutes, seconds). If teachers at one school in Seattle can get people across our entire country talking critically about standardized testing, what else can we push/pull the Public to consider with a critical and creative consciousness?

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