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Resolution in Support of Nathan Hale HS Educators’ Decision Not to Require Students to Take 11th Grade Smarter Balance Assessments 

Whereas the educators at Nathan Hale High School, via their Senate, have decided not to give the 11th grade Smarter Balance Assessment (SBA) tests because of the lengthy disruption to teaching and learning; and

Whereas the SBA, tied to the Common Core State Standards, are required for graduation in Washington State in 2019, but are not required this year; and,

Whereas the SBA have cut scores set so high that 59% of future high school students are projected to be unable to earn a passing score to graduate; and,

Whereas the SBA and other high-stakes testing take valuable time away from classroom curricula and close the computer lab to teaching and learning for weeks; and,

Whereas the SBA do not provide results that directly impact teachers’ next instructional steps and therefore the SBA are not authentic classroom assessments; and,

Whereas the discredited No Child Left Behind law has required all schools to have 100% of their students passing high-stakes assessments to show “college and career readiness” by 2014, yet few (if any)  schools can do that, and therefore schools throughout the state are unfairly being labeled as failures; and,

Whereas the Nathan Hale Senate is asserting its commitment to valid, reliable, equitable assessment as a result of community and parent meetings, careful study of research literature, knowledge of their students’ needs, commitment to excellence in their students’ education, and adherence to the values and ideas of best-practice instruction; and,

Whereas the State Superintendent has said the state may lose federal funding as a result; and

Whereas the Washington Education Association (WEA) has passed a resolution supporting educators’ right to inform their students of the option of opting out of SBA and other high-stakes tests,

Therefore be it resolved that the 32nd District Democrats voice their support for the informed choice of the educators, parents and students at Nathan Hale HS not to give (or take) the 11th grade SBA test;  and

Therefore be in also resolved that we urge the Seattle School District and the Seattle School Board to support educators in their schools who choose not to administer tests and to express their disappointment in the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s lack of support for this choice  and work with the Legislature to end SBA testing; and,

Therefore be it finally resolved that we urge that the Legislature end required administration of SBA tests, and reliance on these tests as high-stakes graduation requirements.

This resolution was passed on March 11, 2015.

Dora Taylor