Wednesday, July 15, 2015

More of Hell Has Apparently Frozen Over

Update:  there was also a measure that would simply allow parents to opt-out of testing (as opposed to the amendment that did pass that notifies parents whether their state allows opt-outs).  It was defeated, seemingly on the premise that local control over opting out should be left to states.  Both Senators Murray and Cantwell voted no on the measure.  It is legal in Washington State to opt out.

End of update.

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution about the revamped NCLB/ECAA:

The U.S. Senate passed an amendment by Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., to the “Every Child Achieves Act” that aims to inform parents about opting out of standardized testing.

Isakson’s amendment, which was passed by a unanimous vote Tuesday, would require any local educational agency that receives federal Title I funds to notify parents of each student attending school that they may request information regarding any state or local policy, procedure, or parental right regarding participation in mandated assessments.

During debate on the amendment, Isakson, who was chairman of the Georgia Board of Education from 1997-99, took to the Senate floor to urge his colleagues to support his amendment.

“Every parent has the right to know whether or not the state allows an opt-out or not” from standardized testing, Isakson said. “That way, if a state does not allow the ability for parents to opt their child out of testing, then it is a parent’s right as a citizen to go to the Board of Education to voice their opinion and ask for an opt-out.”

The Committee also said yes to an amendment from Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin:

"...to allow States to use federal funds to audit the number and quality of tests administered" 

From Titlei.org:

Other amendments adopted would:

  • Change the Title II formula so that funds are distributed to States differently, with 80% of funds going out on the basis of poverty and 20% on the basis of population;
  • Open the door to more computer-adaptive and other types of assessments;
  • Restore the 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Advanced Placement, and Javits Gifted and Talented programs (which would otherwise have been eliminated under the bill); and
  • Require more detailed reporting on Career and Technical education programs provided to K-12 students.

As well, Senator Patty Murray offered what I believe is a disturbing amendment to "require" schools to collect/report data on students in military families.   

Meanwhile the ECAA has been reported out of Committee in the Senate but there is no date yet set for floor discussion in the Senate. 

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Isakson amendment was a floor amendment. The full Senate has been debating ECAA for the past 3 days. It passed out of committee months ago.

Reader 420

Anonymous said...

From Johnny Isakson's website under news releases:

Wednesday, July 15, 2015 Senate Adopts Isakson Amendment to Inform Parents about Opting Out of Standardized Testing

Ensures parents can make informed decisions on their children's education

WASHINGTON – By a unanimous vote of 97-0, the U.S. Senate passed an amendment by U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., to the Every Child Achieves Act on Tuesday to ensure that parents have the information needed to make decisions on their child’s education by requiring schools that receive federal funding to notify parents of their rights to opt their children out of mandated testing.

Isakson’s amendment would require any local educational agency that receives federal Title I funds to notify parents of each student attending school that they may request information regarding any state or local policy, procedure, or parental right regarding participation in any mandated assessments.

During debate on the amendment, Isakson, who was chairman of the Georgia Board of Education from 1997-99, took to the Senate floor to urge his colleagues to support his amendment.

“Every parent has the right to know whether or not the state allows an opt-out [of standardized testing] or not. That way, if a state does not allow the ability for parents to opt their child out of testing, then it is a parent’s right as a citizen to go to the Board of Education to voice their opinion and ask for an opt-out,” said Isakson.

“In other words, we're opening the door for local control. It is time that we took the shackles off of public education and removed the Washington weight that is dragging it down. It's time for the local system to be seeing to it that they are meeting the needs of their students, that the parents know what the system is doing and have a right to inquire, and if the parent doesn't want their child to be tested according to the state’s methods and standards, they should be able to opt their child out. That is the ultimate of localization of control.”

....


“Senator Isakson is the champion of giving parents the right to know whether or not their state gives them the opportunity to opt out of the federally required tests. That's his amendment today. ......... So that's consistent with this legislation which requires the important measurements of achievement so we can know whether children are achieving or not and whether schools are achieving or not but then restores to states and local school boards and classroom teachers and parents the decisions about how to help those children achieve.”

“That's the kind of local control of education that I think most of us on both sides of the aisle, whether it's the senator from Montana speaking this morning or the senator from Georgia speaking this afternoon, that's the spirit of the consensus that guides this bill, and Senator Isakson's contribution has been enormous to the right of parents to provide an opt out of federally required tests for their children if they and their state choose to do it.”

On April 16, 2015, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee passed the bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act out of committee in a unanimous vote.

Isakson secured many provisions benefitting Georgia students and families in the measure passed out of committee, including removing federally mandated definitions on High Quality Teachers, adopting an accountability system that is truly designed and implemented by the states, reinforcing parental rights to opt their children out of state assessments, and more increasing coordination and streamlining early childhood education programs.

A vote on final passage of the Every Child Achieves Act is expected this week.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Dan. It's good to see you've taken over Melissa's blog since no one was reading the Math Underground blog. Keep up the good work.

Reader 420

n said...

funds are distributed to States differently, with 80% of funds going out on the basis of poverty and 20% on the basis of population;

Does this mean that even more of my blue tax money is going to the red south? Not judging . . . just curious. :) I'm all for connecting the money to poverty honestly but my black colleague from the deep south said her community votes Republican because it's all about family down there. She thinks it is pretty dumb and that's why she teaches up here. She has no intention of ever going back - well, until retirement anyway. Cheaper to live down there she says.

Anonymous said...

A stronger amendment that would have allowed parents to opt out without penalty to their school, district, or state was defeated by a vote of 32 to 64. Only Republicans voted in favor. This article includes the roll call:

http://dianeravitch.net/2015/07/15/senate-vote-on-parents-right-to-opt-out-of-testing

David Edelman

Melissa Westbrook said...

Reader 420, kind of rude. Let's keep it civil.

Yes, David, that would have been better but at least this puts states/districts on notice that parents can ask and they can't stonewall them.

Anonymous said...

Diarrhea of the blogosphere is kinda rude too. Voters rejected Dan's circular pontification.

Reader 421

Anonymous said...

7.15.15 -- Sen. Mike Lee’s amendment would have allowed parents to opt children out of standardized tests – vote failed by 32 – 64; Ted Cruz, Rand Paul voted for Lee’s amendment, Rubio did not vote on it.
http://www.educationviews.org/cruz-rand-vote-parental-opt-out-amendment-fails-roll-call-votes-senate-house/


7.15.15 – “Senate Votes To End Debate on NCLB Rewrite, Rejects Lee’s Amendment Allowing Parent Opt-Outs from Tests” -- By Dr. Susan Berry – Breitbart --

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/07/15/senate-votes-to-end-debate-on-nclb-rewrite-rejects-lees-amendment-allowing-parent-opt-outs-from-tests/

-- Dan Dempsey