Thursday, March 26, 2015

Near Child Abuse Over Common Core Testing

Update: totally related to this story - will SPS be able to give the SBAC as well as give Sped students the time they need to finish?  From Sped Special Ed listserv:
Last night at the SPED PTSA meeting, the SPED Dept leadership said that SBACs cannot trump the law in regards to our students' SDI, that is, whatever the time crunch of SBACs, students' SDI still needs to be delivered per IEPs. 
The SPED Dept leadership stated that they'd reached out to principals to ensure that master schedules are being created to ensure that no student's SDI lapses during the SBACs. 
Teachers I've spoken with totally roll their eyes about this, that there is no way they can attend to SDI responsibilities fully while meeting students' needs on the SBACs. (Not to mention the kids who opt out. They need their SDI too.) 
In any case, I think the bigger issue here is what is the info/comms plan for families on this matter -- did the SPED Dept indicate to buildings what they s/b telling families and when? It's otherwise asking a lot of families to go in and ask ...
end of update

Well, that's what me and many others are calling what is happening to one 6th grader in Libertyville, IL.

A single sixth-grader, Sam Morgan,  at a middle school there opted out of the PARCC test.  Here's what the principal did (this from the Chicago Tribune):

On the first exam day, he had to sit in the testing room with his peers but do nothing. He couldn't read, draw or do anything for at least two hours and 40 minutes, double the time of the 80-minute math test.

Why did he have to sit double the time?

By law, Sam is allowed extra time to complete some school tasks, such as standardized tests, because of his academic challenges. The school reasoned that had the boy taken the PARCC exam, he would have been given an extra 80 minutes to finish, and therefore he sat for the length of the test plus the additional time.
Meanwhile, his mom said, she got a call from Principal Hallmark, who she said was "really, really upset" about Sam opting out. The principal told her Sam had to sit in the testing room even longer because he has a special education plan to give him extra time on the exam, Morgan said.

"It is so demeaning — if there is no test, he doesn't need the extra time," Morgan said.

Reasoned or wanted to hold up as an example?

Sam spent several more hours that testing week doing nothing, under a practice that critics call "sit and stare."

The principal calls the situation (no irony here) "a learning process for everybody."

Forcing a student to do nothing is punitive, demeaning and a waste of educational time, critics say. But supporters say some activities could disrupt test takers and potentially lead to test security breaches.

Can't draw because you might help others cheat?  Fine.  (Although my question is, why does the kid even have to be in the room if he/she might be a distraction?  Even PARCC procedures say the student shouldn't be there.)  Read a book?  Might have answers and/or answers written?  Okay, then check the book or give the kid the teacher picked.

Not all districts are this bad.

District 97 spokesman Chris Jasculca said the district is researching procedures used by other school districts and monitoring legislation in Springfield that would make clear that students who opt out would be offered supervised instructional or enrichment activities.

In all, his family says Sam sat for almost 10 hours doing nothing that week, though the principal said it was fewer hours.

What did Sam do in those empty hours?

He said he stared, dozed off and thought about becoming a professional snowboarder.

 That is taking educational time away from a student.  Give him reading or worksheets but sitting for hours is nonsense. 

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

My sister lives in a Chicago suburb and this has been a hot topic over there. A lot of families had extremely negative reactions to the way this student was treated. My sister opted her 3 girls out and her district was very supportive - her middle school kids were excused to come to school late during the testing and her 4th grader was in a room with other kids who opted out and given educational worksheets.

NE Mom of 3

Maureen said...

Can someone define SDI (instructional time?? I don't know) and Melissa, can you add it to the Education acronyms list? Thanks!

Maureen said...

Well, google to the rescue (I thought it might be SPS specific so didn't try at first.)

Specially Designed Instruction

Anonymous said...

Not directly related, but an article about teacher evals tied to high stakes testing out of subject.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/03/25/how-is-this-fair-art-teacher-is-evaluated-by-students-math-standardized-test-scores/

-ArchStanton

Melissa Westbrook said...

Saw that Arch - now we are getting crazier by the day. Unless it's co-taught curriculum, not fair.

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