Wednesday, December 27, 2017

FairTest Testing Resistance & Reform News: December 20 - 26, 2017

1Testing Resistance & Reform News: December 20 - 26, 2017
We hope you've enjoyed receiving Testing Resistance & Reform News and consider it a valuable tool for staying informed about the national movement against testing overkill. Please help FairTest support assessment reform campaigns with tools like this by clicking here now: Happy New Year from all of us at FairTest!

National Major Rural Advocacy Group Calls for High-Stakes Testing Cutback                  #EdBlogNet @idraedu @FairTestOffice

Genuine Educational Accountability Involves More Than Test Results                 #EdBlogNet @idraedu @FairTestOffice

Colorado Forum on Standardized Testing Opt-Out Movement                 #EdBlogNet @idraedu @FairTestOffice

District of Columbia 
What Happens When Schools Focus on Numbers                 #EdBlogNet @idraedu @FairTestOffice

State Is Poor Model for Nation                 #EdBlogNet @idraedu @FairTestOffice

Florida Tests Can't Be Only in English                 #EdBlogNet @idraedu @FairTestOffice

High-Stakes Testing Fails to Fix Fundamental Education Problems                 #EdBlogNet @idraedu @FairTestOffice

Massachusetts If Education Justice is the Goal, State Is Not a Model for Equity                 #EdBlogNet @idraedu @FairTestOffice

Test Scores Don't Make Schools Great                 #EdBlogNet @idraedu @FairTestOffice

Test Scores Don't Tell the Whole Story                 #EdBlogNet @idraedu @FairTestOffice

New Jersey 
Grassroots Activists Look to Post-Christie New Jersey                 #EdBlogNet @idraedu @FairTestOffice

New Jersey What Do Tests Really Measure?                 #EdBlogNet @idraedu @FairTestOffice

North Dakota School Performance "Dashboard" Will Include More Than Test Scores                 #EdBlogNet @idraedu @FairTestOffice

Bill Would Reduce Test Score Role in Teacher Evaluation                 #EdBlogNet @idraedu @FairTestOffice

Test Scores Won't Accurately Measure Philadelphia Schools' Progress                 #EdBlogNet @idraedu @FairTestOffice

State Should Exempt Hurricane-Impacted Students From Testing Requirement                 #EdBlogNet @idraedu @FairTestOffice

Texas The Testing Charade                 #EdBlogNet @idraedu @FairTestOffice

Worth Reading
 Testing Isn't Everything: Two New Books Offer Insight                 #EdBlogNet @idraedu @FairTestOffice

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

Saturday, November 25, 2017

FairTest Testing in US November 24

Do you find these weekly updates helpful to your work? If so, you can get a jump start on Giving Tuesday by donating to support FairTest's public education outreach by clicking here:
Donate to FairTest
Many thanks for your interest and support!

National States Can Soon Pursue "Innovative Assessment" Pilot Program Under NCLB
National Many States Set Ridiculously Unachievable Goals Under ESSA

Schools Seeks Graduation Test Waiver for Students with Classes Disrupted by Hurricane

Many Flaws in Current State Testing

High School "Proficiency" Bar Set Higher Than "College Readiness"

State Data Now Includes Data From School Climate Ratings

Massachusetts Schools Preparing Kids for Tests, Not Life
Massachusetts Tougher Tests Don't Improve Teacher Quality

Teacher Shortage Spurs Licensing Test Flexibility

Missouri We've Made Schools Into a Contest for Well-Trained Test Takers
Missouri School Report Cards Hard to Analyze Amidst Test Score Reporting Errors

New York 
State Cuts Testing Days in Attempt to Discourage Opt Outs

"Moving Goal Posts," Poor Measures Make State Report Cards "Meaningless"

Graduation Test Requirement Postponed Again

South Carolina 
96% of Schools Experienced Technical Glitches with Online Testing

 Fired Testing Vendor Sues for Multi-Million Contract Termination Payout
Tennessee Students, Parents, Educators Rally Against Testing Company Monopoly

Texas Commissioner Threatens Fed Funding Loss If Tests Cancelled Due to Hurricane Impacts

Test Scores Will Play Smaller Role in School Accreditation

Unusual Test Score Fluctuations Confuse School Report Cards

University Admissions
 ACT Cancels Test Scores After Administering Wrong Exam

 Canadian Teachers Federation Calls Government-Mandated Tests Obstacle to Quality Education

Worth Reading Data, Numbers and Audiences
Donate to FairTest
Thank you!
Bob Schaeffer, Public Education Director
FairTest: National Center for Fair & Open Testing
office-   (239) 395-6773   fax-  (239) 395-6779
mobile- (239) 699-0468

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Texas High School Attrition Reaches All-Time Low of 29% for Hispanic Students

See our latest annual attrition study:

“At 24 percent statewide for all student groups, our high schools are losing one-fourth of their students. It isn’t the fact that Texas attrition went down to 24 this year that's important; it's the fact that the number never goes below 24 percent,” said Dr. MarĂ­a “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, IDRA president and CEO. “Also, 29 percent is high for any student group, but especially for the largest group in the state – Hispanic students. We need to do more than try harder or tweak. Texas has to be serious about investing and being strategic. Since this problem is systemic, the solutions must be as well.”
#dropouts #txed

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.

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

Schools Chief Somewhat Critical of State Standardized Exam

State Gets One-Year Federal Waiver on Science Testing

Officials Debate How to Protect Opt-Out Policy in Face of Federal Concerns

District of Columbia 
Advanced Placement Courses, Tests Enjoy "A Prestige Beyond Merits"

Teachers Sue State Over Teacher Bonus Program Based on Old ACT/SAT Scores
Florida More Questions About "Value Added" Measure of Teacher Impact

Schools Superintendent Rejects Governor's Plea to Increase Test Score Weight in ESSA Plan

 District Superintendent Blasts Interpretation of State Test Scores
Indiana Tooo Many Variables Affect Test Scores

And Your Thought Standardized Exams Were Bad

Ed. Policy Makers Ignore Governor's Criticism of ESSA Plan That Downgrades Testing

High-Stakes Student Testing Sparks Policy Debate

New ESSA School Grades Go Beyond Test Scores

Test Scores Mislead Public About Educational Quality

School Ratings Delayed by Questionable Test Scores

New York
 Parents Call for Continuation of Testing Boycott, End to Failed Compromises

North Carolina State Deserves an "F" for its Testing Fetish
North Carolina School Grading Does Not Work

 Real Education Is More Than Tests and Report Cards
Ohio Experts Disagree About What Test-Based Report Cards Mean

Test Scores Don't Tell Entire Story

State's School Grading System is Hogwash

 Speaker Wants House to Look Into Testing Requirement Changes in Wake of Hurricane Harvey

Vermont State Board of Ed Vice Chair Says Measuring Wrong Things Leads to Loss of Purpose

 Extensive Investigation Documents Depth of Test Cheating at One School

State Super Says, "Student Success Should Not Be Tied to Passing a Single Test"

 British Students Have Become "Just Numbers in a Giant Machine"

Teacher Certification Test Keep Educators of Color Out of U.S. Classrooms

University Applying to College with Test-Optional Admission

Worth Reading End the High-Stakes Testing Sham
Worth Reading Parents Say Testing Overkill Is Top-Tier Problem Facing Schools

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

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  #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"  #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  #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"  #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:  #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


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 (

Why Teacher Diversity Is Important for Student Academic Performance

Controversies Over State ESSA Plan

District of Columbia 
The Truth About Cheating in DC Schools

Florida Algebra 2 End-of-Course Testing Mandate Ended

Small Schools May Be Exempt Under Proposed ESSA Accountability Plan

State Seeks Feedback on ESSA Plan
Maryland Impact of State Testing Time Limits Will Vary Among Districts

What Today's Education Reformers Can Learn From Thoreau

Students Talk About Standardized Testing -- St. Paul Federation of Teachers Video

Educators Criticize Fairness of Proposal for Testing Learning Disabled Students

New York 
Educators Judged by Test Scores From Students, Subjects They Don't Teach

 How Graduation Testing Requirements Have Been Relaxed
Ohio Third Graders May Be Held Back Due to Errors in Setting Test Cut-Off Scores

Oklahoma Ever-Changing State Assessment Requirements

Test Scores Are the Wrong Bottom Line for Education

Teaching to the Test Takes Time From Real Learning

Texas State Testing Data Inconsistencies Do Not Support Year-to-Year Comparisons

Standardized Tests To Have Smaller Influence Under Proposed New Law

Make Legislators Pass Fifth Grade Math Test

Eliminate Test-Based Barriers to Becoming a Teacher

University Admissions 
Law Deans Ask Why Their Schools Should Be Required to Use Admissions Tests