Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Washington State Common Core: What a Long, Strange Trip

 Update: another timeline from a different group, Stop Common Core in Washington State.

A fascinating history of Common Core in the Washington State legislature from Opt Out Washington. Wonder how come the Times didn't ask a single question about its history in their recent article.  (It has a great graphic with an important notation that I was not able to include here.)

The author, David Spring, provides a lot of detail including:
-  Common Core was adopted by the Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Randy Dorn, in 2010 who signed some kind of informal agreement in the summer of 2010. 

-So the actual bill to adopt Common Core and SBAC was voted on by the legislature during the last week of June 2013.

The bill was passed with little objection from either political party. No one knew what was in the bill because it was a “striker amendment” meaning the entire bill was replaced at the last minute and no one even had time to read it. The vote was done as a last minute "midnight" bill which was part of a package of bills to pass the budget (which was more than two months late that year).Without this passage, the State of Washington was facing a government shutdown on July 1, 2013. 

To understand how this really happened, I interviewed several Washington state Senators and Representatives about HB 1450 and the vote to pass it. The bill was passed with little objection from either political party. No one knew what was in the bill because it was a “striker amendment” meaning the entire bill was replaced at the last minute and no one even had time to read it. The vote was done as a last minute "midnight" bill which was part of a package of bills to pass the budget (which was more than two months late that year).Without this passage, the State of Washington was facing a government shutdown on July 1, 2013. 

-The February 2013 version of House Bill 1450 bill was supported by Randy Dorn but opposed by Wendy Rader Konofalski and Katie Carper of the Washington Education Association and Marie Sullivan, of the Washington State School Directors' Association. These three wise opponents of the bill noted that the bill might reduce some testing but would increase other tests.

- There was a fiscal note for HB 1450 from OSPI indicating that the cost would be more than $200 million to the General Fund State budget (this did not include cost to local school districts that I estimate to be more than one billion dollars). The $200 million was nearly all to pay for a "contract" to some un-named group to do the SBAC test.

- Despite this strange legislative history, Governor Inslee signed the bill into law on July 3, 2013 and it went into effect on September 28 2013. 

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

This was interesting:

http://m.newstribune.com/news/2015/feb/25/green-blocks-state-common-core-payments-smarter-ba/#.VO8i1rPF_RJ

David Edelman

Anonymous said...

I will not argue with Mr. Spring's analysis of the history of the Common Core and SBAC in Washington, mostly because I think it would be futile to do so.

With that said, I would encourage all parents who are considering opting their kids out of the high school graduation tests, as Mr. Spring advocates, to give that action careful thought.

Mr. Spring claims that there is no evidence of any student in the state being denied a diploma from opting out of the high school graduation tests. He may be right but not for the reason he claims.

There have been students who have been denied their diplomas for not passing the required tests or the alternatives. I don't know of any students who were denied their diploma due to refusal to take the tests. I think parents have known better. But Mr. Spring I think confuses this issue.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

swk, I can't be the only reader of this blog who is getting more than a little bit tired of your feeble attempts to scare people. Dorn has proven himself gutless in all instances, and he will not be denying anybody any diplomas.

-- Ivan Weiss

Anonymous said...

Ivan, I'm not trying to scare anyone. I've never tried to scare anyone.

Dorn nor anyone else at the state awards or denies diplomas. Only high schools and colleges that offer high school completion programs are authorized to award diplomas.

It is the legislature rather than Dorn that requires students to pass the high school graduation tests in order to graduate. If you've got an issue with that, take it up with them.

I can tell you without reservation that there have been students who were denied their diplomas by the high schools because they never passed the high schools assessments or alternatives. This is not debatable. If you think it's a myth, call Nathan Hale HS and ask.

This is not a feeble scare tactic. This is fact.

Finally, if you don't like what I have to say, don't read my comments. It's pretty simple.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

OSPI details graduation testing requirements, year by year. Any Joe Shmo can find the info. It's different for each graduating class as new tests are phased in and old tests go by the wayside.

https://www.k12.wa.us/assessment/StateTesting/

For this year's juniors, if they have passing scores on the HSPE and math and Biology EOCs, then they don't need to take the SBAC this year. Next year is a different story. For graduating classes of 2017 and 2018, the ELA SBAC is required, along with math and Biology EOCs. For 2019, SBAC testing in both math and ELA will be required, along with the Biology EOC. Some students that have banked EOC math scores will still have to take the SBAC. Current 7th and 8th graders that have passed math EOCs will still have to take the math SBAC in high school.

We have yet to see what will happen once more states see results of SBAC testing. Will the SBAC tests still be in use in a few years? Many states have left the testing consortiums. Roughly half are using either SBAC or PARCC.

parent

Anonymous said...

What I find most interesting from the Opt Out Washington link is the referenced OSPI handout stating "CCR [now SBAC] is not a graduation requirement, but scores may be used for the purposes of graduation." It was apparently sold on this promise, then later changed to a graduation requirement.

What I don't see in his analysis is how much state testing cost pre-SBAC. He claims the SBAC is the most expensive test ever (it may well be), but without knowing current costs, it's hard to make a comparison. Being computer based, it is certainly costing districts in the need for hardware and time to administer. Students have to rotate through the computers rather than everyone sitting down with their paper booklet at the same time. For elementary and middle school, the SBAC tests are to be spread over four days, rather than the two days (math and reading) for MSP.

I really miss the days of ITBS.

parent

Anonymous said...

There's just a lot of interesting (some debatable) stuff in the Opt Out Washington link.

Some claims:

* Why the SBAC is one of the most unfair tests ever made...SBAC is designed to unfairly label 3 out of 4 low income children as failures

As designed and scored, many students will not meet proficiency scores. Does this mean it was explicitly designed to fail students? No.

* Why the SBAC is one of the most unfair tests ever made...The SBAC is also an adaptive test. This means students who get the first few questions right are given a much harder test...

I think the algorithm is probably more complex than that, but, yes, it's adaptive, just like MAP. It doesn't mean it's unfair, but simply different from the PARCC tests that will have the same questions for a given year and grade.

* Why the SBAC is one of the most unfair tests ever made...It is the WASL on steroids!

Can't argue with that.

* Neither Parents Nor Teachers are allowed to see the actual SBAC Tests our children are forced to take!

This is very different from the WASL/MSP/EOC in Washington. This is a big loss.

dan dempsey said...

I take issue with David Spring's detail in regard to WA State's timeline in CCSS adoption.

The CCSS was largely put in place in 2010 as WA State was hurrying to get in fast.

See this for the correct timeline:
CCSS History in WA State

Randy Dorn was required by a state law to submit a detailed report to the legislature by Jan 1, 2011. He was 30 days late. The legislature did not care and allowed the standards to gain permanent acceptance less than a week after the late report was submitted.

dan dempsey said...

Bad link above for History of CCSS above.

History of CCSS in WA State

Anonymous said...

I always read your comments, swk, and I learn something from every one of them. But I am not obliged to agree with them. I believe the opt-out freight train is rolling, and that school officials will do whatever they can to avoid standing in its way. If I am wrong I will admit it in public.

-- Ivan Weiss

Anonymous said...

Fair enough, Ivan.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

Let's put SBAC, the cost for the tests, the cost for the tech, the cost in time, all in its own funding bucket. If it does not fit the definition of "basic education", no taxpayer funding, buh bye.

-NNNCr

Anonymous said...

Sorry to be the one to tell you, NNNCr, but the state content standards --- which are now the Common Core State Standards --- and the state assessment program --- which is now the SBAC assessments --- are part of basic education.

--- swk

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

swk, Yep, I guess the law is the law.
The RCW also says
(2) Know and apply the core concepts and principles of mathematics; social, physical, and life sciences; civics and history, including different cultures and participation in representative government; geography; arts; and health and fitness;

Sounds like they're gonna need a bigger budget.

-NNNCr