State Superintendent Randy Dorn appears to be quite upset about the opting out of the SBAC in Seattle high schools. So much so that the Times granted him an op-ed to write about SBAC where he says "few 11th graders are grappling with refusal to take the test..."
That would be almost a thousand juniors opting out of testing in the largest school district in the state. That's not "a few" student "grappling" with anything.
Then the Times has a new story updating how many more SPS juniors have opted out.
Garfield is up to 95% of juniors opting out of the SBAC with
Roosevelt at 80%. Ask most juniors and they say it's because the test
covers material they haven't seen, they are busy with AP/IB tests or it
has nothing to do with them or their ability to graduate. (Note to
Dorn: that so many districts have had to cut counseling services may
mean that the word just didn't get to juniors on taking the SBAC o avoid
remedial courses later in college.)
Dorn chimes in here as well:
"The decision to refuse testing doesn't just affect the individual student," Dorn said. It affects students across the state."
I mean our state already lost its waiver from NCLB. Is Secretary Duncan truly going after students - Sped, ELL and poor students? (And that's who he will hurt - not teachers, not parents but kids.)
Duncan and Dorn seem to be trying several tactics.
One is "it's the teachers unions." The teachers, in state after state, have been able to get parents and students to say no to testing in mass numbers? That's insulting to both parents/students and teachers.
At the OSPI website, Dorn said that there may be "an investigation" and if he finds some kind of orchestrated effort by teachers, he'll...I don't know. Some unions in some states have been more aggressive but again, if you don't have mass buy-in from parents, it would not happen. And these parents have been active now for more than a year so I'm not buying it.
“There could be an investigation to see if teachers did encourage
not to take the test – and that to me, is an ethics violation, a code
of conduct violation, and a teacher could be disciplined.”
The second tactic is that only white suburban families are opting out of the tests and they really have no idea how much they are hurting kids of color in urban schools. Well, that's not Seattle.
The third tactic from Dorn is to say that WA state will have a difficult time figuring out "who is actually struggling" without "accurate comparisons." Wait, what? Who is getting compared to whom? And why wouldn't you ask the person who knows best - the teacher?
The state may feel it cannot make accurate decisions without test data but I'm not sure that's saying there is no way to know who is struggling.
Dorn also said at the OSPI website:
If you don’t like the federal law, don’t refuse to have your child
take the tests; call your U.S. representative and senators and tell them
to change the law.
Easy peasy? Very funny, Mr. Superintendent.