Wednesday, September 20, 2017

FairTest Testing Resistance & Reform News: September 13-19, 2017

FairTest Testing Resistance & Reform News: September 13-19, 2017
Bob Schaeffer


Praising FairTest as "an incredibly vibrant and important organization that provides an essential service" -- and specifically citing these weekly updates -- former PBS education correspondent John Merrow posts FairTest Is Not a Footnote and urges readers to provide more financial support around our upcoming "Heroes in Education" event.
https://themerrowreport.com/2017/09/13/fairtest-is-not-a-footnote/

This week's clips include stories from more than 40% of U.S. states:

Arizona 
Schools Chief Somewhat Critical of State Standardized Exam
https://cronkitenews.azpbs.org/2017/09/15/schools-chief-diane-douglas-remains-lukewarm-azmerit-test-shows-confusion-prop-305/

California 
State Gets One-Year Federal Waiver on Science Testing
https://edsource.org/2017/california-gets-waiver-from-administering-old-science-tests-but-only-for-last-year/587259

Colorado 
Officials Debate How to Protect Opt-Out Policy in Face of Federal Concerns
https://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/co/2017/09/13/how-should-colorado-respond-to-federal-concerns-about-its-testing-opt-out-policy-state-board-members-dont-agree/

District of Columbia 
Advanced Placement Courses, Tests Enjoy "A Prestige Beyond Merits"
https://nondoc.com/2017/09/16/ap-classes-prestige-merits/

Florida 
Teachers Sue State Over Teacher Bonus Program Based on Old ACT/SAT Scores
http://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2017/09/14/teachers-union-sues-florida-alleging-best-brightest-bonus-system-discriminatory/667029001/#new_tab
Florida More Questions About "Value Added" Measure of Teacher Impact
http://jacksonville.com/education/news/metro/2017-09-15/some-question-state-s-measurement-teacher-effectiveness

Georgia 
Schools Superintendent Rejects Governor's Plea to Increase Test Score Weight in ESSA Plan
http://getschooled.blog.myajc.com/2017/09/18/georgia-school-chief-governors-accountability-plan-relies-too-much-on-testing/

Indiana
 District Superintendent Blasts Interpretation of State Test Scores
http://www.thestarpress.com/story/news/education/2017/09/17/mcs-superintendent-baule-blasts-istep/661240001/
Indiana Tooo Many Variables Affect Test Scores
http://www.heraldbulletin.com/opinion/columns/shane-phipps-column-too-many-variables-affect-standardized-test-results/article_4fecce09-87ea-5b0a-b771-7583b6c280fe.html

Maine 
And Your Thought Standardized Exams Were Bad
https://emilytalmage.com/2017/09/16/and-you-thought-standardized-tests-were-bad/

Maryland 
Ed. Policy Makers Ignore Governor's Criticism of ESSA Plan That Downgrades Testing
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/editorial/bs-ed-0918-essa-20170915-story.html

Massachusetts 
High-Stakes Student Testing Sparks Policy Debate
http://www.southcoasttoday.com/news/20170915/high-stakes-student-testing-sparks-beacon-hill-debate

Minnesota 
New ESSA School Grades Go Beyond Test Scores
http://www.startribune.com/fsfs/445544163/

Nebraska 
Test Scores Mislead Public About Educational Quality
http://journalstar.com/opinion/letters/letter-nebraska-act-results-mislead/article_3413d943-9e90-56a7-9e68-a5002efbcb41.html

Nevada 
School Ratings Delayed by Questionable Test Scores
http://mynews4.com/news/local/nevada-education-department-postpones-school-ratings-release

New York
 Parents Call for Continuation of Testing Boycott, End to Failed Compromises
http://www.nysape.org/nysape-pr-essa---cc.html

North Carolina State Deserves an "F" for its Testing Fetish
http://www.greensboro.com/opinion/n_and_r_editorials/our-opinion-state-deserves-an-f-for-its-testing-fetish/article_0ac92115-37bd-5342-ad9c-da531ccfa620.html
North Carolina School Grading Does Not Work
http://www.thetimesnews.com/opinion/20170917/editorial-nc-school-grading-doesnt-work

Ohio
 Real Education Is More Than Tests and Report Cards
http://www.record-courier.com/article/20170917/OPINION/309179990
Ohio Experts Disagree About What Test-Based Report Cards Mean
http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2017/09/even_experts_disagree_on_what.html

Oregon 
Test Scores Don't Tell Entire Story
http://democratherald.com/opinion/editorial/editorial-test-scores-don-t-tell-entire-story/article_81560bed-3d44-5ba8-8127-ff3b670b5972.html

Tennessee 
State's School Grading System is Hogwash
http://www.chattanoogan.com/2017/9/17/355039/Roy-Exum-TVAAS-Is-Hogwash.aspx

Texas
 Speaker Wants House to Look Into Testing Requirement Changes in Wake of Hurricane Harvey
http://www.expressnews.com/news/local/article/Straus-wants-House-to-examine-student-testing-12198189.php

Vermont State Board of Ed Vice Chair Says Measuring Wrong Things Leads to Loss of Purpose
http://nepc.colorado.edu/blog/william-mathis-what-purpose

Virginia
 Extensive Investigation Documents Depth of Test Cheating at One School
http://www.nbc12.com/story/36368864/documents-reveal-extensive-state-investigation-into-sol-cheating-at-petersburg-elementary-school

Washington 
State Super Says, "Student Success Should Not Be Tied to Passing a Single Test"
https://www.columbian.com/news/2017/sep/15/high-school-end-of-course-biology-assessment-postponed/

International
 British Students Have Become "Just Numbers in a Giant Machine"
https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-views/our-pupils-are-now-just-numbers-a-giant-machine

Teacher Certification Test Keep Educators of Color Out of U.S. Classrooms
https://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/us/2017/09/12/certification-rules-and-tests-are-keeping-would-be-teachers-of-color-out-of-americas-classrooms-heres-how/

University Applying to College with Test-Optional Admission
http://www.thehour.com/opinion/article/Janet-Rosier-Applying-to-college-with-test-12188356.php

Worth Reading End the High-Stakes Testing Sham
https://www.usnews.com/opinion/knowledge-bank/articles/2017-09-15/stop-pretending-that-high-stakes-testing-is-making-schools-better
Worth Reading Parents Say Testing Overkill Is Top-Tier Problem Facing Schools
https://www.aft.org/press-release/national-poll-finds-parents-want-safe-welcoming-well-funded-neighborhood

Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director
FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing
office-   (239) 395-6773   fax-  (239) 395-6779
mobile- (239) 699-0468
web-  http://www.fairtest.org


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Census: Texas Ranks 38th in Child Poverty Progress Threatened by Hurricane Harvey

Census: Texas Ranks 38th in Child Poverty
Progress Threatened by Hurricane Harvey, Federal Policy Uncertainty

AUSTIN, TX– Census data released this week show modest improvements in the numbers of Texas children living in poverty and the percentage of uninsured children. But far too many children still live with economic deprivation and lack access to essential health coverage. The rates of children living in poverty and lacking insurance experienced small, steady improvements, but the challenges of recovering from hurricane Harvey and policy uncertainty at the federal level are threatening those gains. The president’s proposed budget makes deep cuts to programs that support low-income children and families, and the administration continues to undermine the Affordable Care Act.
Children remain the poorest age group in America, with more than 1.6 million Texas children living in poverty in 2016, according to data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. Texas saw some improvement in child poverty rates from 25.8 percent in 2012 to 22.4 percent in 2016. It has been a slow recovery, but we are now back to pre-recession child poverty levels of 2008, when 22.5 percent of Texas children lived in poverty. Major federal programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the National School Lunch Program, the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, have played a part in this recovery, most of which would be cut under the proposed federal budget.
“While we are cautiously optimistic about these incremental gains for Texas children, the challenges imposed by the Harvey recovery and the policy uncertainty coming from Washington raise real concerns. As we look at the tremendous reduction in the number of uninsured people in our country as a result of the Affordable Care Act, we are deeply worried that the Trump administration’s active efforts to undermine the ACA, and looming federal budget cuts will destroy the fragile progress we’ve made,” said Patrick Bresette, executive director of Children’s Defense Fund-Texas.
Texas children of color under age 18 continue to have poverty rates higher than average. More than 30 percent of Hispanic children, 28.7 percent of black children, and 23 percent of Native American children are poor. Asian and white children fare better, with 10 percent living in poverty. Children of color are the majority of all children in Texas, and suffer disproportionately from economic deprivation. Our youngest children are most at risk of being poor—nearly one-quarter of Texas kids aged five and younger lived in poverty in 2016.
Despite modest improvements, Texas remains 49th among all states in the percentage of children lacking health insurance. More than 670,000 children lack health insurance, six-and-a-half times those in New York and two-and-a-half the number of uninsured children in California. Texas continues to have the highest number and rate of uninsured people—16.6 percent—in the nation, nearly double the national rate.
The situation remains precarious for Texans in poverty and those on the edge who recently lost their homes or their jobs in areas hit hard by hurricane Harvey, despite the improvements shown in the Census data. In addition to the personal losses individuals will face, the Texas state budget will also be impacted by Harvey as more people and communities turn to the state for assistance. State lawmakers will need to ensure that they maximize all available federal funds to respond to the disaster.
“One thing our leaders can do right now is to urge Congress to act quickly and authorize a five-year funding extension for the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP), a critical support for low-income children. Likewise, Texas could significantly reduce the economic burden facing low-income families by finally expanding Medicaid, which would reduce our high levels of uninsured adults and free up family resources for other needs,” said Bresette.
Federal Medicaid funds are always an important source of support for communities, and they are essential in the aftermath of a natural disaster. But Texas has a slow-moving healthcare disaster happening every day, and Medicaid expansion now would improve Texans’ access to health insurance immediately and dramatically, while helping to stabilize the state budget.
Texas has long ranked in the bottom quarter of states with respect to child poverty, and Harvey threatens to upend the small progress we’ve made over the last few years. In the immediate aftermath of Harvey, more than 1 million children were unable to start school on time, and up to 3 million children are being impacted across the region. Many schools remain flooded or damaged, and as school started up this week, more than 10,000 children in Houston public schools alone were being moved to other campuses. As the state works to recover from this widespread natural disaster, the fragility of our safety net programs and the pressure on our state budget is becoming ever more clear. Medicaid was already significantly underfunded by more than $1 billion for the next biennium, and families under duress after Harvey will only have increased needs.
###
The Children’s Defense Fund Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life, and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

FairTest Testing Resistance & Reform News: August 23 - 29, 2017

FairTest Testing Resistance & Reform News: August 23 - 29, 2017
Bob Schaeffer

You can tell that a new school year is beginning across the U.S. by the surge in testing-related coverage -- this week's clips include news from 20 states as well as national overviews. FairTest is especially pleased that so many stories and columns include strong criticisms of standardized exam misuse and overuse, reflecting a growing consensus for assessment reform that is also revealed in recent public opinion polls.

National Many States Begin Shedding K-12 Exam Mandates

National New Poll Finds Little Public Support for Standardized Testing
http://pdkpoll.org/results#measuring-school-quality  #EdBlogNet @FairTestOffice @idraedu

Alabama State Board Member Wants to Institutionalize Special Ed. Students to Boost Average Test Scores

Arizona School Grades Delayed to Massage Ranking Formula

California State Board Dismisses Complaints From Test-and-Punish Advocates
California Test Scores Delayed Indefinitely Due to "Data Issues"
California Parents Prep Kids for Kindergarten Entrance Tests

Colorado State Asks Feds for More Time to Integrate Opt-Out Policy Into ESSA Plan

Florida Governor Candidate Says Testing Cripples Education

Idaho New Graduation Requirements Stir Debate Over Tests' Value

Indiana Superintendent of Education Says, "We Assess Kids to Death"
http://www.thebraziltimes.com/story/2438328.html  #EdBlogNet @FairTestOffice @idraedu

Maryland School Test Scores Can be Highly Misleading
Maryland The Limits of Standardized Testing
Maryland State Board of Education Debates School Rating System

Massachusetts Moving Beyond MCAS: Current School Quality Measures Are Incomplete, Inaccurate

Minnesota Aggregated Test Scores Mislead on School Performance

New Jersey Replacing High-Stakes Testing with Broader Education?

New Mexico Do School Grades Show Real Academic Performance or "Noise"?
New Mexico Time to Dump PARCC Tests?

New York Teachers Call Test Scores "Virtually Meaningless"
New York 225,000 Students Opted Out of State Tests in 2017
http://www.nysape.org/nysape-pr-2017-opt-out-results.html  #EdBlogNet @FairTestOffice @idraedu

North Carolina The Failure of Using Business-Model Practices Like VAM in Education

Ohio Test Scores Don't Tell Us Anything We Did Not Already Know

Pennsylvania Spending Too Much Time on Testing and Not Getting Enough Back

Tennessee Parents Should Opt Out of Standardized Testing Madness
Tennessee Weeks Into New School Year, Last Spring's Test Scores Still Not Available

Virginia Principal and Teachers Fired at School Where Staff Cheated on Exams

Washington ESSA Plan Moves Beyond No Child Left Behind

West Virginia More Changes to Draft ESSA Plan

International Principals in India Say Students Gain Nothing From Competency Tests

University University Bloomfield College Now Has Test-Optional Admissions Policy
University California State System Eliminates Placement-Test Based Remedial Courses

Worth Reading New Book "Beyond Test Scores: A Better Way to Measure School Quality"
http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674976399  #EdBlogNet @FairTestOffice @idraedu
Worth Reading Closing Schools with Low Scores Does Not Help Most Students
Worth Reading Questions Parents Should Ask Schools About Testing Their Children

Support Heroes in Education Be sure to order your tickets or make your contribution for FairTest's October 26 "Heroes in Education" award reception honoring Schott Foundation head John Jackson and Mass. Teachers Association President Barbara Madeloni.  Details at: http://www.fairtest.org/fairtest-to-honor-jackson-and-madeloni  #EdBlogNet @FairTestOffice @idraedu

Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director
FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing
office-   (239) 395-6773   fax-  (239) 395-6779
mobile- (239) 699-0468

web-  http://www.fairtest.org

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

FairTest Testing Resistance & Reform News July 12 - 18, 2017

FairTest Testing Resistance & Reform News July 12 - 18, 2017


There's no evidence of any "summer doldrums" for the U.S. assessment reform movement.  With each week, more and more states respond to grassroots pressure by reducing testing mandates and the time devoted to standardized exams. Nationally, the impact is striking: for example, the number of jurisdictions with high school exit exams has been trimmed to just 13, down from 27 that once had or planned such requirements (http://fairtest.org/graduation-test-update-states-recently-eliminated).


Alabama 
Why Teacher Diversity Is Important for Student Academic Performance
http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2017/07/why_its_important_to_have_a_di.html

California 
Controversies Over State ESSA Plan
http://www.dailynews.com/general-news/20170716/state-board-faces-deadline-tough-decisions-on-new-federal-law-for-improving-schools

District of Columbia 
The Truth About Cheating in DC Schools
https://themerrowreport.com/2017/07/14/school-reforms-hot-air-balloon/

Florida Algebra 2 End-of-Course Testing Mandate Ended
http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/gradebook/can-florida-students-still-take-the-algebra-2-end-of-course-exam/2330027

Idaho 
Small Schools May Be Exempt Under Proposed ESSA Accountability Plan
https://www.idahoednews.org/news/small-schools-may-exempt-accountability-provisions-essa-plan/

Maryland 
State Seeks Feedback on ESSA Plan
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/harford/aegis/ph-ag-new-school-ratings-0712-20170711-story.html
Maryland Impact of State Testing Time Limits Will Vary Among Districts
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/education/k-12/bs-md-testing-cap-20170714-story.html

Massachusetts 
What Today's Education Reformers Can Learn From Thoreau
http://www.masslive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2017/07/what_todays_education_reformer.html

Minnesota 
Students Talk About Standardized Testing -- St. Paul Federation of Teachers Video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNHYPtsNBFk&feature=youtu.be

Montana 
Educators Criticize Fairness of Proposal for Testing Learning Disabled Students
http://missoulian.com/news/government-and-politics/educators-question-fairness-of-opi-s-proposal-for-disabled-students/article_3c4487a8-48b5-5ac2-8e6f-d90851533700.html

New York 
Educators Judged by Test Scores From Students, Subjects They Don't Teach
http://www.chalkbeat.org/posts/ny/2017/07/13/new-data-show-more-than-half-of-nyc-teachers-judged-in-part-by-test-scores-they-dont-directly-affect/

Ohio
 How Graduation Testing Requirements Have Been Relaxed
http://www.mydaytondailynews.com/news/what-you-need-know-about-ohio-new-graduation-changes/C4K4KoZluw0no2xQ5gLsQN/
Ohio Third Graders May Be Held Back Due to Errors in Setting Test Cut-Off Scores
http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2017/07/errors_could_unfairly_force_som.html

Oklahoma Ever-Changing State Assessment Requirements
http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/education/attention-parents-of-oklahoma-students-delay-in-state-test-scores/article_17af4de7-8866-524c-96e2-f5f7f026dc9b.html

Oregon 
Test Scores Are the Wrong Bottom Line for Education
http://registerguard.com/rg/opinion/35754947-78/test-scores-are-wrong-bottom-line-in-education.html.csp

Pennsylvania 
Teaching to the Test Takes Time From Real Learning
http://www.readingeagle.com/voices/article/teaching-to-the-test

Texas State Testing Data Inconsistencies Do Not Support Year-to-Year Comparisons
http://www.chron.com/news/education/article/Fewer-Texas-Houston-students-pass-state-s-11286107.php

Virginia 
Standardized Tests To Have Smaller Influence Under Proposed New Law
http://wvtf.org/post/standardized-tests-could-have-smaller-impact-under-potential-new-law#stream/0

Washington 
Make Legislators Pass Fifth Grade Math Test
http://www.theolympian.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article161033609.html

Wisconsin 
Eliminate Test-Based Barriers to Becoming a Teacher
http://bustedpencils.com/2017/07/no-status-quo-wisconsin/

University Admissions 
Law Deans Ask Why Their Schools Should Be Required to Use Admissions Tests
http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/rather_than_accept_more_entrance_exams_some_law_school_deans_favor_eliminat

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Actionable Knowledge for Equity bulletin on bullying and harassment, actionable data, quality teaching, and school leadership.

IDRA's Actionable Knowledge for Equity bulletin gives you info on four campaign areas: bullying and harassment, actionable data, quality teaching, and school leadership.

--------- July 2017 ---------
IDRA's Actionable Knowledge for Equity bulletin gives you info on four campaign areas: bullying and harassment, actionable data, quality teaching, and school leadership.

In this issue... 
  • Most In-school Bullying Occurs in Hallways and Classrooms
  • Racial-ethnic Tension Occurs at All Grade Levels
  • 5 Reasons Research Shows Teacher Leave
  • School Boards that Lead for Equity - Podcast
IDRA's empirically-based  Quality Schools Action Framework outlines indispensable levers of change that depend on the production and use of actionable knowledge - clear, accurate and timely information - to assess what is needed to strengthen public schooling.
Bullying and Harassment 
Most In-school Bullying Occurs in Hallways and Classrooms 
In May, NCES released the School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey with data on bullying. About 21 percent of teens (12 to 18 years old) reported being bullied at school during the school year in 2015. By race-ethnicity, 25 percent of Black students, 22 percent of White students and 17 percent of Hispanic students reported being bullied at school. By grade levels, the percentage was higher for sixth graders than students in eighth through 12th grades. 

The graph below shows the location where the bullying was reported to have occurred, with the most being in a school hallway or stairwell followed by bullying inside the classroom.
Location of Bullying in Schools

Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey, 2015. Location totals may sum to more than 100 percent because students could have been bullied in more than one location.

Other Resources
Actionable Data 
Racial-ethnic Tension Occurs at All Grade Levels
While the perception may be that racial-ethnic tension is most prominent among older teenagers, schools across the country are reporting issues that lead to discipline problems at all grade levels. Middle schools have over twice the rate of other levels. And surprisingly, elementary schools have higher rates than high schools. 
Source: NCES Digest of Education Statistics. Percentage of public schools reporting selected discipline problems that occurred at school, by frequency and selected school characteristics: Selected years, 1999-2000 through 2013-14. 
Quality Teaching 
School Leadership 

School Boards that Lead for Equity - 
Classnotes Podcast
In order for educational equity to take hold in a school, it is critical that it be in an environment where the district level governance structure provides leadership for systemic equity. A former superintendent in three school districts, Dr. Larry Leverett is the recently-retired executive director of Panasonic Foundation that supports efforts of school systems to improve academic and social outcomes for all students. In this podcast episode, he describes how the Panasonic Foundation has shifted its focus to school board leadership in advancing system-wide equity strategies. (Show length: 15:29 min.)

Dr. Leverett is one of the authors of the journal that was published earlier this year, Essential Approaches for Excellence & Sustainable School System Transformation, that was developed by a group of experts who came together to pull together capacity-building approaches for school and system change. As he relates in this interview, Larry's chapter, Systems Change and Governance: School Boards That Lead for Equity, outlines several actions boards should take.

Larry is interviewed by Bradley Scott, Ph.D., former director of the IDRA South Central Collaborative for Equity, who also contributed a chapter in the ECCBN journal. Send comments to podcast@idra.org. Sign up to receive free e-mail notices when new episodes are available. 
The Intercultural Development Research Association is an independent, non-profit organization. Our mission is to achieve equal educational opportunity for every child through strong public schools that prepare all students to access and succeed in college. IDRA strengthens and transforms public education by providing dynamic training; useful research, evaluation, and frameworks for action; timely policy analyses; and innovative materials and programs.
We are committed to the IDRA valuing philosophy, respecting the knowledge and skills of the individuals we work with and build on the strengths of the students and parents in their schools.
IDRA, 5815 Callaghan Road, Suite 101, San Antonio, TX 78228
Sent by contact@idra.org in collaboration with
Constant Contact