In the op-ed piece, High Test Fuel for WASL, teacher Wendy Grove makes the case (I think) for keeping the math and science sections of the WASL instead of using alternatives (which I believe the Governor vetoed doing anywway).
I say "I think" because her piece is somewhat contradictory. She starts by saying,
"The WASL is a valid test for my third- and fourth-graders; it asks them to show proficiency according to the wisely, deliberately crafted Washington state standards, and we should stick with the test that aligns with the standards to which we're instructing."
(I'm not sure I know what wisely crafted means. She might have meant well-crafted?)
So you think she believes in the WASL based on what is taught in schools. But further on, it seems like she's making the case that when Everyday Math was rolled out it didn't come with training and some teachers used it fully and others didn't. Meanwhile kids who changed schools got math presented differently. She even says by the time kids get to high school teachers are complained and kids do poorly. Wouldn't this mean it makes sense to not use the math WASL as a graduation requirement?
The following paragraph really struck me because of the on-going concerns by parents over late-start days in middle/high school.
"The problem is compounded by a lack of time for teachers to design lessons and discuss the best instructional strategies for their students. We don't just turn the page in the teacher's manual anymore. And we don't want to: Collaborating about student learning is powerful. But districts don't have money to give teachers this essential time."
My husband is a professor at UW and always wonders outloud why every teacher has to create his/her own lesson plans. Aren't there a lot out there - tested and used by teachers - that already exist? I don't want anyone turning the page in a teacher's manual either but when I (or other parents) ask what it is that teachers want to do during collaboration time that better serves the goal of academic achievement, we get no answers. We're still waiting at Roosevelt. What does "collaborating about student learning" mean in real terms and how many hours are reasonable for teachers to accomplish this?