House Bill 2214: “AN ACT Relating to increasing academic rigor and streamlining 2 assessment requirements for high school students.”

Just how far are we going to allow the state to determine local curriculum, how the curriculum is taught and how a student’s performance should be assessed?

I didn’t know we had educators in Olympia. Oh, that’s right, they’re POLITICIANS with various agendas and beholden to donors more so many times than their constituents.

House Bill 2214 was introduced “by request of Superintendent of Public Instruction” Randy Dorn who is beholden to Bill Gates to push through the Common Core Standards and the concomitant SBAC tests. This bill is not dead and if it doesn’t go to the House for a vote this time around, it will raise its ugly head next year.

Mr. Dorn is on the board of the private entity Council of Chief State School Officers(CCSSO) which is an organization receiving $84M from Bill Gates to promote the Common Core Standards. See: State Superintendent Randy Dorn’s “interpretation” of the Common Core SBAC testing and opting out: Truthiness in education.

The first item that stood out in this bill is that Randy Dorn wants to reduce the amount of required graduation tests from 6+ assessments (tests) to three tests and all three of them are the Common Core Standards SBAC tests. Coincidence? I think not.

First of all, why does there have to be ANY test to graduate from high school? Back in the day in California, where I attended public school, if we passed our classes successfully, we received our diploma and moved on.

Why now are there a battery of tests that seniors are subjected to while many of these students are taking the SAT/ACT and writing lengthy essays for college applications? Do these people not understand that students are humans too?

So now the legislators are doing us a favor by cutting the number of exams in half? Are they not merciful.

Randy Dorn and the legislators who signed onto this bill are not doing our students any favors.

The politicians who have put their names to this bill are:

Representatives Reykdal, Taylor, Pettigrew, Shea, Gregory, G. Hunt, Pollet, Holy, Ryu, Haler, Sells, Santos, Farrell, Tarleton, Bergquist, Appleton, Moscoso, Takko, Peterson, Dunshee, Riccelli, Sawyer, Tharinger, Condotta, Gregerson, Stanford, Robinson, Fitzgibbon, Kilduff, Orwall, Ortiz-Self, Van De Wege, Goodman, Kirby, Blake, Wylie, Moeller, Fey, McBride, Hurst, Schmick, S. Hunt, Griffey, and Youn.

After digging further into this bill, we found more party prizes.

First this section:

Each student shall have a high school and beyond plan to guide the student’s high school experience and prepare the student for postsecondary education or training and career. A high school and beyond plan must be initiated for each student during the eighth grade. In preparation for initiating that plan, each student shall first be administered a career interest and skills inventory. The plan must be updated annually during the high school grades to review transcripts, assess progress toward identified goals, and revise as necessary for changing interests, goals, and needs. School districts are encouraged to involve parents and guardians in the process of developing and updating the high school and beyond plan. The high school and beyond plan must include the following minimum elements: 

(i) Identification of career goals, aided by a skills and 24 interest assessment; 
(ii) Identification of educational goals; 
(iii) A four-year plan for course-taking that fulfills state and local graduation requirements and aligns with the student’s career and educational goals; 
(iv) Identification of assessments if needed to graduate from high school and achieve the postsecondary goals chosen in the high school and beyond plan; 
(v) By the end of the twelfth grade, a current resume or activity log that provides a written compilation of the student’s education, any work experience, and any community service and how the school district has recognized the community service pursuant to RCW 36 28A.320.193.

Along with budget cuts to our schools went many of our counselors. Just exactly who is to assist the students in putting together these plans? Is there money that will be provided by the state to fully fund this for all the school districts in the state of Washington? Money will be required not only for additional counselors but also cash for these assessments on an on-going basis. We can’t even get these folks to adequately fund education in our state for existing classes, programs, teachers, libraries, counselors, nurses and support staff. The few counselors we have been able to keep have their hands full, playing the role of nurse, psychologist (we could use some of those in our schools if for no other reason then to deal with the stress all of this puts the students under), guidance counselor and general support for students and families facing debilitating poverty, homelessness, illness and psychological traumas.

One parent who has read through this bill thinks the requirement of a high school and beyond plan starting in 8th grade is “creepy and Orwellian”. Shouldn’t students in 8th grade instead be exploring various subjects and enjoying the process rather than coming up with a 24 point plan to a specified career goal at age 13?

As one parent said, “It turns public education into a job training program, nothing more. I really doubt Lakeside has a required “high school and beyond plan”. Lakeside kids are being groomed to lead, public school kids are being taught to become a cog in the machine.”

On page 14 of this bill:

The superintendent of public instruction shall also develop subtests for the end-of-course assessments developed through the 2014-15 school year that measure standards for the first two years of high school mathematics that are unique to algebra I, integrated mathematics I, geometry, and integrated mathematics II. The results of the subtests shall be reported at the student, teacher, school, and district level. 

So far we have the SBAC battery of tests, the MAP and Amplify, which they are now giving to 2nd graders in Seattle Public Schools by the way, WA KIDS and DIEBELS . Is there any room for a test provided by a teacher who is actually teaching the class? And now, Mr. Dorn is to come up with ANOTHER set of standardized tests? Do they think we have children or automatons?

On page 11:

Beginning in the 2015-16 school year, students in grade twelve who have not earned a score of level 3 or level 4 on the high school English language arts assessment and mathematics assessment identified in RCW 28A.655.070 or have not earned a certificate of individual achievement under RCW 28A.155.045 must take and pass a locally determined course in the content area in which the student was not successful. The course shall be rigorous and consistent with the student’s educational and career goals identified in his or her high school and beyond plan, and may include career and technical education equivalencies in English language arts or mathematics adopted pursuant to RCW 28A.230.097.

A response from a parent about this clause: “I thought the legislature wasn’t funding enough class periods for high school and if a kid fails any class it’s difficult if not impossible for them to graduate on time. How are schools going to fit all the kids who fail or refuse the SBAC into another, higher level math class? What happens to the other kids who need to take these courses? Who is going to pay for this?”

These legislators love to pile on education policy requirements with not one iota of an idea of how anything will be paid for. If nothing else, please contact your Representative and ask them the simple question…”How is the state going to pay for this?”

And here’s the icing on the cake, a Common Core Standards/SBAC (and anything else Gates can think up) PR program paid for by us:

Subject to funds appropriated for this purpose, the office of the superintendent of public instruction shall develop and conduct an ongoing campaign for career and technical education to increase awareness among teachers, counselors, students, parents, principals, school administrators, and the general public about the opportunities offered by rigorous career and technical education programs. Messages in the campaign shall emphasize career and technical education as a high quality educational pathway for students, including for students who seek advanced education that includes a bachelor’s degree or 33 beyond. In particular, the office shall provide information about the following:

(a) The model career and technical education programs of study developed under RCW 28A.700.060;
(b) Career and technical education course equivalencies and dual credit for high school and college;
(c) ((The career and technical education alternative assessment 2 guidelines under RCW 28A.655.065;
The availability of scholarships for postsecondary workforce education, including the Washington award for vocational excellence, and apprenticeships through the opportunity grant program under RCW 28B.50.271, grants under RCW 28A.700.090, and other programs; and high-demand programs.

(d) Education, apprenticeship, and career opportunities in emerging and high-demand programs.

(2) The office shall use multiple strategies in the campaign depending on available funds, including developing an interactive web site to encourage and facilitate career exploration; conducting training and orientation for guidance counselors and teachers; and developing and disseminating printed materials.

(3) The office shall seek advice, participation, and financial assistance from the workforce training and education coordinating board, higher education institutions, foundations, employers, apprenticeship and training councils, workforce development councils, and business and labor organizations for the campaign.

Just when you thought you had enough, there is more.

Representative Chad Magendanz takes it even further with his amendment which basically prescribes in excruciating detail what teachers should teach and how they should teach it. If you haven’t read his amendment, please do so. It’s frightening in its breadth. Magendanz has taken over the role of School Board Director, Superintendent, Principal and teacher with his document.

Magendanz is NOT someone you want to have determining education policy.

For more on Magendanz, see Charter School Myths, Thoughts on the Washington State PTA Convention, and Apartheid House Bill 1860: No one wants to split Seattle in two except for Reps. Santos, Pettigrew and oh yeah… Magendanz. Remember him?.

For more on Dorn, see:  Have you received a robo-call from Ready Washington about the wonders of Common Core Standards and the SBAC? If so, this is why, and Washington State Superintendent Randy Dorn’s scare tactics re: Opting Out of the Common Core SBAC.

When are we going to say enough is enough and stop politicians from determining how our children are taught and tested?

Dora Taylor