We asked all of the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) candidates their position on opting out of the SBAC.
Four of the candidates responded to our query and we are publishing their answers today.
The SBAC test is an unfair bubble test designed to label as failures more than half of the students who take the test.
The makers of the SBAC test falsely claim that it can predict if students are “college ready.” In fact, no bubble test has ever been able to predict if a student is college ready. The only predictor of college readiness is a students high school GPA.
In short, the SBAC test not only harms students, it is worthless as an assessment tool.
In 2015, 62,000 parents in Washington opted their children out of the SBAC test – resulting in Washington having a “participation rate” of only 91%.
Since federal law requires a rate of at least 95%, Washington received a letter from the Department of Education threatening to reduce federal funding unless school districts completed an enforcement plan. In fact, no school district has every lost federal funds due to a failure to force students to take high stakes tests. In December 2015, Congress passed a revision of the ESSA prohibits the Department of Education from threatening states with loss of funds.
Sadly, on April 12, 2016, the Superintendent of Public Instruction violated the new ESSA by sending letters to about 100 school districts threatening them with a loss of federal funds unless they submit an enforcement plan.
On April 24, 2016,Carolyn Leith sent an email to candidates for Superintendent asking us to comment on this threat by OSPI in 500 words. However, this issue cannot be properly answered in only 500 words. I have therefore published a more detailed statement on our campaign website: https://springforbetterschools.org/
For years, I have been a leader in Washington opposing the harmful SBAC test. I have written dozens of reports explaining why the SBAC test harms children. I have also published a book, Weapons of Mass Deception summarizing how the SBAC test harm children. You can read this book here: https://weaponsofmassdeception.org/
In 2015, I started the website Opt Out Washington to give parents information on how to opt their children out of the unfair SBAC test. More than 50,000 Washington parents have downloaded our opt out form. http://optoutwashington.org/
By contrast, in 2013, two other candidates, Larry Seaquist and Chris Reykdal, voted for House Bill 1450 – the bill that forced the unfair SBAC test on students here in Washington state.
In 2015, Reykdal sponsored House Bill 2214 – a draconian bill that would make Washington one of the only states in the nation that would punish opt out students by placing them at risk of not graduating from high school.
The new ESSA states on page 24 that its purpose is to determine “whether the student is performing at grade level.” Because the SBAC test does not provide accurate information about whether a student is achieving at grade level, the SBAC test does not comply with the ESSA. As superintendent, I will therefore suspend the SBAC test and replace it with assessment options such as Teacher Grades and/or the Iowa Assessment that do accurately measure whether a student is achieving at grade level.
David Spring M. ED.
Candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction
You can listen to my interview with David Spring at “An interview with OSPI candidate David Spring”.
HB-2214 did just the OPPOSITE of what Mr. Spring claims. It attempted to ensure that no child would be denied a high school diploma because of the SBAC test. Instead, students could exercise a demonstration of proficiency by taking courses (including CTE courses) aligned to the standards (just like we all did as students – pass classes and graduate). This bill attempted to put the power of evaluation back in the hands of classroom teachers. Virtually every House member voted for it, but Senator Steve Litzow would not give it a hearing because it delinked graduation requirements from a single standardized test.
This year, the bill was made even better by ensuring that no child would have to take an SBAC in order to exercise the course-based approach. That made this year’s version of HB-2214 a true opt-out bill. We listened to parents and wrote an even stronger bill for parent opt out rights. It passed 87-10 but once again the Senate Chairman would not hear the bill because of the delinking and strong opt out provision.
The entire history and detail of the bill can be found here. http://app.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=2214&year=2015