For the news and views you might have missed
In a five to one vote with Director Stephan Blanford giving the lone “No” vote, the Seattle School Board passed a resolution ,sponsored by Directors Sue Peters and Rick Burke, in favor of requesting the state to provide an alternative summative test to the SBAC based on the newly authorized ESSA. The request is to use a locally selected alternative summative assessment framework to measure achievement and student growth.
See Seattle Public School Board votes to pursue alternative to SBAC under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) for additional information on the resolution.
We asked each of the candidates running for the position of State Superintendent to provide their thoughts on the resolution.
To follow is the response by Chris Reykdal.
The Seattle School Board appropriately interprets intent language in the new Every Child Succeeds Act (ESSA) regarding alternative summative assessment options. Sadly, the U.S. Dept. of Education is still tinkering with punitive rules. I support the Seattle School District Resolution and their interest in local-option summative assessments.
Local districts should have greater flexibility in adopting summative assessments. However, even with local options we are still left with a powerful policy question; what is the real purpose of a summative assessment? Is it to measure state, district, or school progress? If this is the purpose, then sampling, as is used in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) test is an appropriate technique that would provide us with statistically significant results about system performance without the massive sacrifice of resources and instructional time currently dedicated to standardized testing.
However, if you believe the purpose of summative assessments is to make a determination of grade promotion, graduation, or other student-specific purposes, then the Smarter Balanced Assessment and most locally determined alternatives summative assessments will come up very short. That’s not what they were designed to do! So we can save time and money with better summative assessments, but nothing replaces the critical diagnostic role of teachers and formative assessments along the teaching and learning process.
If Seattle School District believes the purpose of a new locally determined alternative summative assessment is to decide whether students graduate, then they run the risk of simply replacing one instrument for another but missing a larger opportunity. I believe standardized assessments should only be used to measure system progress – not individual student determination. If Seattle School District or others want to use a summative assessment for individual student determination, I believe two critical options should be embedded in their policy:
1) That any parent has a legal opt out right without sanction to the student; and
2) Whether a student takes the summative assessment and scores below proficient or chooses not to take the assessment, that the alternative is not another standardized test, but rather a course or set of courses aligned to standards. Pass the course(s), meet the standard, graduate on-time! This empowers educators, allows for multiple measures throughout the course, and undoubtedly allows for work ethic and determination to influence the result. The latter is not to be discounted in what employers really want. Few employers ask applicants about their test scores, but they all want to know about persistence, work ethic, and determination.
I hope the Seattle School District will adopt a second resolution making it clear that every student has a pathway to on-time graduation via a series of standards-aligned courses (not simply state tests or locally determined tests). This policy expression will honor the alignment work of K-12 and higher education to mutually agree on standards-based courses, that when passed, will ensure that students do not take expensive remedial courses once in college. It’s time to trust teachers and quality courses over standardized tests!
-Chris Reykdal, Candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction
*government by the wealthy.
*a country or society governed by the wealthy.
Plural noun: plutocracies
*an elite or ruling class of people whose power derives from their wealth.
Dollarocracy: How the money and media election complex is destroying America
By John Nichols and Robert McChesney
From the Preface:
Carter declared-as the planet's most famous election observer- that '“We have one of the worst election processes in the world right here in the United States of America, and it’s almost entirely because of the excessive influx of money."
Click the image to see their interview with Bill Moyers.
More than 1.2 million students are homeless, and nearly 76,000 are living on their own without parents.
Click the image for a link to the article.
"There is something grotesque about the fact that education reform is being led not by educators but by financiers and speculators and billionaires."
This process -- a handful of the wealthiest people in our country controlling the political process -- is called "oligarchy."
The great political struggle we now face is whether the United States retains its democratic heritage or whether we move toward an oligarchic form of society where the real political power rests with a handful of billionaires, not ordinary Americans.
"I believe in standardizing automobiles. I do not believe in standardizing human beings. Standardization is a great peril which threatens American culture."
ALEC Exposed-The Privatization of Public Schools:
And more about the Koch brothers and their dad: kochexposed.org
Charter School Scandals
Charter School Scams and Scamsters
Class Size Matters:
Common Core Standards:
Democrats for Education Reform
Teach for America:
"Any time hedge fund managers...when they walk into the inner city areas and start talking about poor children's education, it's not because they want kids to read and write, it's because they know that the federal government spends $600B on education and they want it and they're going to get it."
Jesse has collected stories from students, educators and parents around the country and formed a picture of what is happening in public education and why:
More Than A Score edited by Jesse Hagopian
This book is a must read to understand what teachers are going through with the corporate takeover of our public school system:
Confessions of a Bad Teacher by John Owens
Need I say more? It's a book by Chris Hedges:
Death of the Liberal Class: Chris Hedges
Dollarocracy: Robert Waterman McChesney
Ravitch lays it out in this book and its no holds barred:
Reign of Error: Diane Ravitch
Want to know where over 50% of each tax dollar is going? Read this book:
The Operators by Michael Hastings
Why is it is hard to tell the difference between the Dems and Repubs? Read this book and find out:
The Party is Over: Mike Lofgren
This is a must read. Naomi Klein breaks it down in this book about how oligarchs are manipulating us and running our world:
The Shock Doctrine: Naomi Klein
If you want to know about the financial collapse of 2008, why the rest of us are no better off now and yet the stock market and banks have rebounded, making huge profits and why another collapse is inevitable, check out this book by Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics:
Freefall: America, Free Markets and the Sinking of the World Economy