Seattle Schools has now finished just one part of the state testing cycle. According to the schedule at OPSI, the 3rd grade reading is done. That leaves plenty more to do before the June 15th cutoff date. (I'm thinking the district will be done a lot sooner than that.)
CPPS and the Equity in Education Coalition are having an "informative community
conversation on the Common Core State Standards and the Smarter Balanced
Assessments" on April 27th at the African American Museum. It includes Eric Anderson, the head of assessment for SPS. The panel also includes two people from OSPI, a teacher from Kent and someone from the Office of Education.
But this appears to be by invitation only, sorry.
The invitation ends by saying:
We hope this will be an ongoing dialogue and the first of many community conversations on Common Core
and the Smarter Balanced Assessments.
It's great that CPPS and the Equity in Education Coalition are trying to create an opportunity for dialog around this issue. I wish our own district had wanted to do this in any meaningful way.
I mean a roll-out of new standards AND new assessments over two+ years and there hasn't been much in the way of community discussion (not to mention information) on Common Core and its assessments? Why not?
As well, today Bill Gates weighed in on the latest drag on Common Core. And boy, did he huff and puff out some doozy quotes. From the Huffington Post:
According to prepared remarks provided to The Huffington Post, Gates
told educators at the National Board for Professional Teaching
Standards' Teaching and Learning Conference that the Common Core is the
key to creativity for teachers.
He then argued:
Consistency of the Common Core across states, Gates argued, is a key ingredient in its potential success.
So standards are created at one end and assessments at the other and
somewhere in-between those two is "the key to creativity?" I would
think it would narrow what teachers can do.
And how do you keep fidelity - across 50 states - to Common Core standards and yet, encourage creativity?
What's fascinating in his remarks is that he keeps circling back to teachers. Over and over, almost as if he trusted and believed in them.
The final laugher?
"Maybe we can't answer every tweet or post, but the authoritative voice on this is teachers," Gates said.
This from the guy who paid for Common Core standards to be created in the first place? They were not even written by teachers (oh right, teachers gave "input").
The Times has an article today about how this opting out might affect teacher evaluations and school scores. They say juniors are "required" to take the test and that, of course, is not true.
I have several questions into OSPI to clarify the issue of what score is given to a student who opts out. I have been told by several sources that there is a "zero" score and a "test refusal" score and that the latter is not recorded as a zero. I am also asking for clarification on any federal dollars over a school scoring lower because of opt-outs.
I end by saying that very soon we all know that the Times will have to have an editorial lambasting parents over opting out. In 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...