The Washington State Court of Appeals today upheld the suspensions of two Seattle School District teachers who, three years ago, refused to give their students the now-defunct Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) exam.
Juli Griffith and Lenora Quarto were special education teachers at Green Lake Elementary in 2008. At the time they told KING-5 News that they refused to administer the test, or its equivalent for special education students, the Washington Alternative Assessment for Students (WAAS), to their students. They said the students' parents had asked them not to give the children the test. Griffith and Quarto were both suspended for ten days for refusing to attend training in how to administer the test and for refusing to give it.
Today the State Court of Appeals upheld their suspension.
The Appeals Court ruling cites a letter written by Quarto to an alternate assessment specialist for the state in which she says she did "not want to administer the WAAS." In the letter Quarto is said to have characterized the test as "jumping through the golden WAAS hoop just so it appears our school is making 'adequate yearly progress."
Both teachers wrote a letter to the school's principal saying the test was "inappropriate" and "not authentic or relevant for our student population." Both taught severely disabled students.
The court ruling acknowledges that the students' parents did write letters refusing to have their children take the test. The court found, however, those letters were written after the teachers refused to administer the exam in violation of school district policy.
Griffith still teaches at Green Lake Elementary. Quarter is no longer employed by Seattle Schools.