Delaware may eliminate some school testing Matthew Albright, The News Journal11:50 p.m. EDT March 12, 2015
Citing the stress that Smarter Balanced will put on their kids and schools, a small but vocal group of parents — some of them teachers — have chosen to “opt their students out” of the new exam.
Rep. Earl Jaques, who chairs the House Education Committee, said the state’s effort to eliminate tests should hopefully ease parents’ and teachers’ concerns. But he joined Markell in saying opting out isn’t the answer for students.
“Is there too much testing? Absolutely,” Jaques said. “And this shows we’re trying to do something about that. But to me, opt-out is admitting failure, and that’s not the American way.”
Many teachers have also expressed concerns about how the new test will be used in their personnel evaluations. This year’s scores on Smarter Balanced will not factor into those evaluations, but many educators have called for an extra year on top of that to transition to a regime for students.
Both Markell and Murphy both said they were “having positive conversations” with federal officials about that possibility.
Read between the lines! It it the Smarter Balanced Assessment causing all the stress on parent and students? Why would this test cause stress? It’s not used for student grading purposes, promotion or retention! The opt-out movement is seeded with educators and unions. But fair enough because the Smarter Balanced shouldn’t be used as a means to label school or teachers! Why isn’t the bench mark of holding high schools accountable based on the dropout rate, graduation rate, SAT scores , AP scores and college acceptance rates? As for middle schools, the 9th grade high school dropout rate could be used rating the middle schools where student previously attended. The there is elementary schools! He is where standardized testing can come into play and I am talking state / local test not tied to the feds testing mandate. Yes exit like testing for each grade level where parents must sign off if they want their child to advance to the next grade is results are borderline. The time to stop the “system” from pushing students through the the next grade needs to be now! Without addressing social promotion no test local, state or federal has any real relevancy. Pushing student through to the next grade is lying to parents and cheating children.
I am very proud of the recent events re: teachers calling out the system re: no confidence letter. However, look at the gloating going on and the pat on the back from DSEA for those teachers charging up the hill! Did PTA issue a president citation? Yes we should be proud but a celebration of unions for just showing some balls long overdue is pathetic. It was DSEA and the local unions running to the corner like scared mice re: Race to The Top that set the stage for Common Core Standards and the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Judas sells-out her peers but yet all cheers when she retired. And then there is Governor Markell the state ringleader in creating the mess! How does labor find a way to meet the objective of not being held accountable based on the Smarter Balanced Assessment with out kicking “Markell” in the balls or given him a black-eye (politically speaking)? They join together to agree to eliminated district level testing while keeping the Smarter Balanced Assessment intact or that’s what Markell thinks! The alignment of educators and parents in the push for testing opt-out is a bigger win for labor if successful. If enough parents opt-out their children the validity of the test results will be skewed and could be used in teacher evaluations. What do parents and students get out of the opt-out? Nothing tangible because testing anxiety will remain re: the school level test and assignments that count. But there is the big prize that is not getting attention.
At the heart of the opt-out momentum is; parents, educators and some legislators who are fed-up with federal intrusion in local school control. The opt-out movement is the banner for the call for the feds to end the intrusion on local control via manipulation of federal grants with accountability stipulation requested as part of the grant but decided at the state level. It’s like the feds saying, here is the money but tell how you are going to hold your self accountable! As for Delaware, Governor Markell is an agent for federal intervention and he has sucker many Delaware legislators into his agenda. Markell is pushes reducing the number of “district” level test to create a smoke screen whereas to protect The Smarter Balanced Assessment. If parents and education were to push back the Smarter Balanced the federal intervention agenda would come unraveled. Markell is doing all he can to buy time for this unraveling not to happen on his shift. But it “will” happen after Markell leaves office! And guess what! Those legislator that supporting Markells agenda like Rep Hudson will have some explaining to do when the house of cards fall and all is revealed! In comes a new president and governor with yet a new education agenda and the people are going to go WTF not again!
I urge state legislators to support the op-out but pull their horn is on playing a part in reducing testing on the local level. At be encourage school districts and charter to streamline their testing in the best way as not to jeopardize student achievement but in a way to help increase instructional time. In other words, stay out of local control and be supported to the point your hands don’t get dirty!
Rep Jaques, I enjoyed our sidebar chat after the combined board meeting. I know you mean well but now it the time to be a leader not a follower. Markell is playing legislators to save his own political ass. Work with the parents, teachers, schools and other legislators to plan for a future that will seen an implosion of the current wrongheaded Washington / Markell agenda. You represent the people not the governor ! Help delivery real transparency that includes record of board meetings of all traditional public schools, votech schools and charter school boards! Give parents and the local school communities the tools to be better watchdogs! H.B.#23 passed the house education committee and the House Appropriation Committee and was killed by it’s sponsor Rep Hudson who encouraged the Speaker of The House to not put it on the House Agenda for a full vote.