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Friday, April 18, 2014

School Board Members Are Freaked Out About Common Core Tests

Posted by on Fri, Apr 18, 2014 at 11:29 AM

Here's yet more fuel for critics of the Obama administration's Common Core teaching curricula and the standardized tests that come with them—including Seattle-area teachers who plan to boycott the tests when they're rolled out here next fall. The Oregonian reports:
Despite clashing opinions on a group of controversial state standards, six Portland School Board members appeared united on at least one issue: They all had concerns about the rollout of new state exams aligned with the Common Core state standards.

When the school board traded opinions on the new standards on Monday, even the most supportive of the Common Core voiced worries about the tests aligned with the new learning requirements...

Melissa Goff, the executive director of the office of teaching and learning, admits the transition will be "rocky" because of limited resources, but says the main goal is to make sure that doesn't affect student learning.

Some critics, like board member Steve Buel, have railed generally against the standards, calling them detrimental to student learning. Others, like board member Ruth Adkins, support the Common Core, but worry teachers haven't gotten the proper support to deal with the new tests associated with the standards.

Washington's been condemned by its own Supreme Court for failing to adequately fund education. Is there any reason to expect things to go more smoothly here next fall, or is this an unfunded mandate?

"No, we’re not ready," Seattle School Board Vice-President Betty Patu tells me by phone this morning. "I think every board director is worried, but I’m speaking for about four of us." That's a majority—there are seven board members. "We’ve discussed this, and it has been a concern. We want this to be successful, but the only way that will happen is if we have the tools in place and the [the teachers] can work the best they can with the kids so they can pass these tests."

"There is no funding for Common Core from the state," Patu says. "I think it should be delayed until we have funding." But she says the district can't make that decision without losing what little state funding it's currently receiving. Washington's Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Comments (8) RSS

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What's there to freak out about these test just test common skills, if you got them you should be fine.
Posted by dkjndmsahksdhksal on April 18, 2014 at 11:54 AM · Report this
brandon 2
This common core stuff wreaks of Michelle Rhee. That woman needs to be stopped.

You'd almost think this was a product of the Bush administration, but apparently not.
Posted by brandon on April 18, 2014 at 12:09 PM · Report this
biffp 3
There's no national agency or elected officials responsible, there's been almost no dialogue and zero public input and some of the questions are asinine. Conservatives and B&M Gates are strongly supportive, no additional funds have been provided to public schools to prepare and private schools won't write the tests. What are the odds this isn't an attack on teachers unions?
Posted by biffp on April 18, 2014 at 12:28 PM · Report this
What are we one here, our third, fourth, or even fifth, mandated graduation test in the last ten years?

Posted by cracked on April 18, 2014 at 12:55 PM · Report this
Can't have standards, the ebonics majors will be left behind.
Posted by Tom Brown's School Days on April 18, 2014 at 1:00 PM · Report this
I think it is part of the overall strategy to weaken liberal values and re-segregate public schools by (1) establishing a method to label public schools as 'failing' (an arbitrary, biased, poorly thought-out and unfunded testing scheme provides this) so that (2) public schools can then be converted to 'charter' schools in part to enable the (3) investor class to cash-in on public-money via owning or administrating or 'advising' charter schools, and which can also legally (4) favor white students and exclude students of color (through arbitrary admittance and discipline policies), while also (5) reducing the capacity of teachers' unions to support pro-union politicians and other progressive policies.

Its a win-win-win-win for corporate and right-wing politics. Change you can believe in!
Posted by screed on April 18, 2014 at 1:05 PM · Report this
For anyone who wants to take a practice test or several to see what they are about, sbac.portal.airast. org/practice-test/ (remove space) and click on the green bicycle on the right.

The tests are onerous, poorly written from a user-interface standpoint (why are there multiple ways to select multiple choice questions? what in gods name is going on with the math answers?), and the accommodations for non-native speakers and special ed students are pretty much nil. The relevance of the reading selections is pretty limited to white middle class students (surprise), and the math questions are really awkwardly worded, and answers don't look much for solutions but assumedly a single process, when several different methods could be used to answer.
Posted by no high hopes on April 18, 2014 at 3:33 PM · Report this
What's there to freak out about these test just test common skills,

Really? There's a lot to freak out about including:
- how these standards were created (see Gates' investment of hundreds of millions of dollars)
- who wrote these standards -not a majority of educators
- the assessments are not developmentally appropriate for K-2 (many child psychologists and educators have weighed in on this one)
- the homework coming out of the standards is difficult for kids to figure out how to do (not how to get the answer but what is it the teacher wants) AND for parents to help if asked
- we are overtesting our children
- it is costing our state and our district millions to enact these standards
- and we haven't got the money our district needs from either the feds or the state. For example, every single school in this state - big or small - has to give the CC assessments on a computer. And it better have a fast system because that's what it's going to take.

YES there is a lot to worry and "freak out" about.
Posted by westello on April 18, 2014 at 4:56 PM · Report this

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