Do Not Support HB 2214 (No Matter What WA State PTA Says)

As further proof that WA State PTA (and National) seem to be moving further and further into the ed reform camp, comes a message from WSPTA urging members to support HB 2214.

The first thing to know about HB 2114 is that one of its authors is Chad Magandez, ed reformer thru and thru.  He loves charters, is connected to LEV

The second item to note is that this bill is pretty much a wolf in sheep's clothing.   While it says it reduces the number of tests for graduation, it really does this:
If you read the bill, you will see it accelerates the SBAC test monopoly from 2019 to 2016 and it will severely harm the Opt Out Movement by imposing a fourth year of advanced math on anyone who opts out of the test in high school - giving Washington state the most draconian graduation requirements in the nation.
So not only does it speed up SBAC, it will NOT preserve a parent's right to refuse their student from taking test (and I see that in the House of Representatives, there IS a bill to preserve that right).

Tell WSPTA "no" to this one (and I think I would probably be right in guessing their support comes from their Board and not any membership vote).

HB 6122 is a bill I have previously written about and support.  It has has no less than eleven sponsors and would do much to curtail this costly overtesting.   

Please contact your legislative reps and tell them NO to 2214 and YES to 6122.


ProSleep Mom said…
Several of us on the SCPTSA Board have already written to state to strongly object to this stance. They seem to be focused on making sure 2000 kids currently at risk of not graduating are taken care of and are not seeing the consequences of this bill for failing tens of thousands next year, and not seeing that 6122 is a much better bill. Fortunately, I think this bill has died in the Senate. I will be following up with state on their process and their reasoning.
ProSleep Mom said…
Just checked and Betty's meeting is now cancelled.
mirmac1 said…
That's right ProSleep Mom. Given the upcoming School Board resolution against implementation of the SBAC and numerous complaints from members of the SCPTSA board, one would think the WSPTA would consider where the largest school district in the state is heading.
Concerned Citizen said…
I'm sorry, I'm a little confused why having students take more math is a bad thing...don't we want our children better educated? Last I read major companies where saying that US students are coming out of college without the math skills necessary for a job, which is why so many are hiring foreign workers.
Concerned Citizen said…
Oops "high school" not college.
Patrick said…
Concerned Citizen, you seem to be confusing testing with instruction.
Anonymous said…
Magendanz just did an amendment, not sponsored the whole bill. Reykdal did, and he's usually pretty up on things, but in this case, I think they aren't clearly seeing how this might be misused, nor are they seeing the issue with using an unproven test as a grad requirement. Given the technological glitches I heard about (kids couldn't even complete the test because they were constantly being logged off, through no fault of their own), the poorly worded questions, the reading passages that weren't grade level appropriate, and the math questions that just plain sucked, why would anyone subject children to this as a condition of graduation? Not to mention those idiots who wanted to retain 3rd graders based on their score on the SBAC ELA. When the test is not even at grade level, plus asks kids to do do writing tasks about the readings that are not developmentally appropriate, it's ludicrous to think that it is a reliable judge of reading ability and can be used as a gatekeeper to 4th grade. Yes, they dropped the retention portion of that - for now - but no extra funds for all those meetings 3rd grade teachers have to have with parents about their child's inability to read 5th and 6th grade level passages at 3rd grade.
I'd also like to know where the money comes to fund the alternative classes students can take if they don't pass the SBAC, since I didn't see that listed in 2214. The legislature isn't even funding basic ed. How would districts pay for the testing equipment, the testing costs (including extra staff for proctors), AND these extra classes?

Anonymous said…
"but no extra funds for all those meetings 3rd grade teachers have to have with parents about their child's inability to read 5th and 6th grade level passages at 3rd grade"

Looks like the SBAC is the worst education mandate that is most in need of reform.

Anonymous said…
Grr. The ed reform "duo" of Pettigrew and Tomiko-Santos are already signed up as sponsors of HB 2214. Anyone think it is worth urging sponsors to vote against the very bills they have sponsored? Ordinarily, I don't mind writing my legislators, but these two are the authors of Pettigrew's "mayoral appointments of Seattle School Board directors! Why not?! Democracy is overrated anyway!! Maybe we will like it!!" hijinks -- and Tomiko-Santos's "task a bunch of people who don't live in Seattle to consider whether -- and how -- to split the SSD in half!! Why not?! No data? No problem! It's all a grand, fun 'experiment!' Maybe we will like it (and the turmoil involved in implementing it)!!" nonsense. It is hard for me to write to either of them with a civil tongue.

So -- if anyone has any positive stories about legislative sponsors who have changed their minds and dropped sponsorship of bills, I will do this. Otherwise, not (though I will write to my state senator).

Anonymous said…
I am all for having a competency test at the end of grade 3 on which to determine advancement to grade 4.

using the SBAC for this is madness. .... look at how MAP testing has been used for purposes completely unrelated to its design. ... wow there is a define leadership shortage.

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…

Tamiko - Santos as head of house ed committee refused to give a bill to delay CCSS & SBAC a hearing in FEB 2011.... she said it had not been submitted early enough...
This was total BS as there were more than 2 weeks remaining before the deadline to submit bills.

Education Refomers' nonsense needs to be exposed . .. It seems that Tamiko-Santos and Pettigrew churn out nonsense on a regular schedule .

WEA and LEV and WSPTA are supporting nonsense far too often. ... Gates money buys leaders decisions in many locations.

-- Dan Dempsey
Anonymous said…
Just some context: On reading, that bill passed a couple of years back, before sbac, when we still had msp. The intent was to flag kids not reading at 3rd grade level and get them supports, because too many kids weren't getting help and were struggling across subjects in 4th, 5th, middle school and beyond. Retaining kids was stripped out, before passage; the conferences with parents were to ensure home-school communications and partnerships to support the kids. Districts were also instructed to prioritize LAP funds for reading support, including for the family engagement around instructional support.
-Ramona H
Anonymous said…
On math, Reykdal works in higher ed, and Magendaz has a big math and tech focus. Kids with poor math skills don't qualify for tech programs in college, including 2 year ones. About half the state Hs grads in 2 year colleges have to take remedial math, and it is expensive. Taking the course in high school is free for kids. I agree with concern expressed earlier about funding for remedial classes in high school, but I think many support the bill because they are concerned about the high remediation in 2 year colleges for high school subject matter. This goes back quite a number of years. Pre sbac.

Ramona H
Anonymous said…
Ramona: I appreciate your perspectives here. Clearly, you have access to facts that give perspective. Allow me to carp here -- but understand I don't mean to attack you -- I mean to attack the flawed "many support the bill because" logic.

You said: "Kids with poor math skills don't qualify for tech programs in college, including 2 year ones. About half the state Hs grads in 2 year colleges have to take remedial math, and it is expensive. Taking the course in high school is free for kids. I agree with concern expressed earlier about funding for remedial classes in high school, but I think many support the bill because they are concerned about the high remediation in 2 year colleges for high school subject matter."

The "problem" as you have stated it: we graduate too many kids who have to take remedial math in college or jc and that costs money.
The proposed "solution" here (to make SBAC a "high stakes test" that kids MUST pass, or they have to pass another math class (a level up from Alg 2, if I understand correctly).

The "solution" is false and misguided in SO many ways:
First, the classes will also "cost" in high school --- as you and others have noted. Also, if the student in question already has a full schedule of classes he/she must pass to graduate, we will have the "costs" of figuring out how to educate that student for an additional year -- because we have boxed him/her into a corner where graduation is unattainable (or they drop out, and that MUST be more expensive in the long run than a remedial math class in JC).
Second, the above hardly BEGINS to count the real costs. To make this scheme work, we have the "cost" of the SBA (in terms of test cost and time, prep material costs and prep time, loss of school tech resources, costs of adequate tech equipment in each school -- and this doesn't even touch the "costs" of stress, etc.
Third, there is the ethical "cost" imposed on teachers and students of having to give and take, respectively, a flawed, high stakes assessment that fails to measure what they have actually learned, and is driven by a privatized corporate agenda that uses student assessment (and high failure rates) as a means to an end.
Next comes the "cost of the security and surveillance apparatus, whereby the testing companies seek to enforce punitive measures on teachers who refuse to sign harsh nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements, and on students who they believe may send a tweet or a text (even after a test is over) discussing test content. Who lets these wolves in the door?
Finally, there is the "cost" of delivering into the hands of private companies huge quantities of student data, to be used for psychometric analysis, sale to third parties, etc.

Jan (continued below)
Anonymous said…

Life does not end if some kids have to take remedial math in JC (and frankly, if the high school materials were not so flawed, there would be fewer of these anyway). To the extent it IS a problem, there are many, many solutions that MUST be cheaper than forcing all high school kids to take the SBA, and then take AND PASS another year of "higher" math in order to get a diploma.

And, of course, the problem has been mis-presented in the first place. I have seen NOTHING that indicates that passing (or not) the SBA at the level required by the legislation is indeed an accurate assessment of whether a kid is ready for college level math without remediation. Where is the data on this? It is not there, regardless of how these tests are being spun. (A far better tactic, if this was REALLY the problem they are solving for) would be to administer the math portions of the ACT and/or the SAT. My guess is we have decades of data accurately identifying the score levels that kids who can handle college math score on BOTH these tests.

The problem has been mispresented. And the "faux solution" of HB 2214 not only does not solve it (true enough) -- but even if it did, there are SO many cheaper, less punitive ways!

There. That is off my chest now.

Anonymous said…
Amen, Jan.

Anonymous said…
Hi Jan, I neither support nor oppose this particular testing bill. Right now in Seattle it is really hard to make up a failed class, timewise, in the traditional schedule. That's one reason a couple of schools adopted a modified block schedule, like Cleveland. Defaulting kids into an extra, unplanned course in 12th grade is problematic. Personally, I would like to see assessments parsed into specific strands/standards, so it wouldn't be a pass, fail situation, but rather, "you need to master these components." Then have time already built into the schedule to allow kids to loop back and focus on what they missed. For some, this could be just a few weeks, not months. I like the sentiment in the bill around making sure kids graduate with a core foundation. But I wonder about overkill and of course the cost and logistics. The state did add $97 m 2 years ago for the 24 credits. Uncertain how close that was to what is needed.
Ramon H
Anonymous said…
why all the emphasis on tests anyways? I have to confess that I do not recall taking a single standardized test in high school besides the SAT for college. Graduation was based on passing courses. If I pass final exams in my classes, doesn't that demonstrate that I have mastered the material adequately enough for basic graduation?

Anonymous said…
What's wrong with a science test, or a social studies test, or a civics test? I thought the ACT had a little of everything. The SBAC is a step in the wrong direction, it's only math and language.

The idea would be to get rid of the SBAC before 2018, and give end of course exams that match the state definition of basic education. Start giving a civics and citizenship test at the end of 10th grade that must be passed before graduation.

Thank you, Jan.

Needless Testing, my recollection of high school was that my teachers gave periodic quiz (as well as "pop quiz!" followed by major groans). That let my teachers know who was keeping up and, as well, possible flaws/holes in their teaching. Then we had a major exam - also teacher-driven - once/twice in the semester. It was "high-stakes" in that it would be part of our grade but it wasn't reported to the state and didn't cost a lot of money.

NNNCr, stop making sense.
Anonymous said…
@ NNNCr - Yes, "end of course exams" is exactly what I was getting at (but couldn't find the words in my last post). Passing 3-4 years of math end-of-course-exams should be the equivalent of a standardized test, rendering the standardized test unnecessary (except for those looking to demonstrate that they know more than their courses and therefore need the SAT/ACT for college...). My limited understanding (my kids are elementary) of high school course tests is that there are enough models, i.e. AP, IB, standard course exam (don't basic text books have a test at the end?). I agree - course tests to match the state definition of basic education. And yes, the tests should cover all the classes demonstrating a working foundation in math, English, science, civics, history.
@ Melissa - Yes, I remember all of those quizzes and exams as well. Isn't that sufficient? What was wrong with that? My children have already taken more standardized tests than I have in my entire lifetime (and I have PhD) and I would consider the quality of their education to be worse, sadly. From what I can tell, the data gathered by outside companies does not serve the children AT ALL. It is corporate data mining.
Anonymous said…
What does a performance based definition of basic education mean, in the context of education funding? If the districts are not meeting the performance goals for 3rd graders, or 12 graders, the state is legally obligated to provide more funding until the goals are met.

What's a reasonable passing rate that would constitute fulfilling the state's duty to children? Although 100% is farcical, 50% is not adequate in any normal world.

So roll out the SBAC results, send it to the supreme court. Let the legislature find another 10 billion a year until a good percentage of students are passing the performance test.

The legislature has dug a logical hole for itself. By defining the state's paramount duty to basic education, tied to a performance system, tied to a test that is nebulous and hard to pass, they have devised something they can't ever find enough money to make happen.

So, obviously, the solution is to find a reasonable test and testing regime.

Then, if the state is true to itself on a performance system, do they plan on giving extra funding to students, schools, or districts that are performing poorly?
Anonymous said…
One glaring issue with HB2214 is that it is not aligned with the WA State agreement with college and universities, which states that students earning a 2, 3 or 4 on the Math and/or ELA SBAC are ready to take an entry level Math and/or English college class. HB2214 states that only students who earn a 3 or 4 will have met state standards.

Based on the pilot data of the 11th grade SBAC, this means that nearly 30% of students, who will likely earn a 2 on the Math and/or ELA SBAC will start their senior year having not met state standards as per the state, but are ready for an entry-level Math and/or English college class as per the agreement with the colleges and universities.

Thankfully the amendment added to HB2214 last week restores the option to submit ACT/SAT scores to show they are at standard.

Shouldn't the bill align with the agreement?

10th-grade parent
Anonymous said…
Amem to NNNCr @ 10:16am!

Could some of you please run for Legislature? We need smart people.
Dora Taylor said…
Wow, just how far are we going to let the state determine local curriculum, how the curriculum is taught and how a student's performance should be assessed?

I didn't know we had educators in our state legislators because that's what it seems like. But no, these are politicians with various agendas.

And the person who pushed this bill is Randy Dorn who is beholden to Gates to push through the Common Core Standards and the SBAC.

First of all, and this might sound blasphemous in this state, why do we need ANY test to graduate from high school?

Back in the day in California, if we passed our classes successfully, we received our diploma and moved on.

Now about the bill, aren't our legislators being merciful? Instead of 6 tests or so, they want to reduce it to three tests and two of them are related to the CCS SBAC.Hmm. Why would that be?

Oh yeah, Mr. Dorn is on the board of the Council of Chief State School Officers(CCSSO)which is an organization receiving $84M from Bill Gates to promote the Common Core Standards. See: State Superintendent Randy Dorn’s “interpretation” of the Common Core SBAC testing and opting out: Truthiness in education,

And Magendanz takes it even further with his amendment basically telling teachers what they should teach! If you haven't read his amendment, please do so. It's frightening in its breadth,

When are we going to say enough is enough and stop politicians from determining how our children are taught?

For more on Dorn, see: Have you received a robo-call from Ready Washington about the wonders of Common Core Standards and the SBAC? If so, this is why., and Washington State Superintendent Randy Dorn’s scare tactics re: Opting Out of the Common Core SBAC,

About Magendanz, see Charter School Myths,, Thoughts on the Washington State PTA Convention, and Apartheid House Bill 1860: No one wants to split Seattle in two except for Reps. Santos, Pettigrew and oh yeah… Magendanz. Remember him?,

Magendanz is NOT someone you want to have determining education policy.

Dora Taylor said…
One thing to keep in perspective is that folks like Gates who want our children all to learn the same way at the same time,is that it's much easier for them to establish what they want at the state level. Dealing at the district level is just too much for them to deal with. It messy and difficult.

Politicians are easy to manipulate, they do like their donations and promises of a brighter future...for themselves. That's how it's been around the country with this ed/corporate reform movement.

Work on the state legislators and the USDOE.
Anonymous said…
Ramona said: "Personally, I would like to see assessments parsed into specific strands/standards, so it wouldn't be a pass, fail situation, but rather, 'you need to master these components.'"

Ramona -- to the extent that I can buy into testing at all, I do like this idea. A sort of -- you have established that you understand and can do A through Q -- but you need to go back and go over R, S, and T again, and then we will reassess just those things. Again (leaving aside where I am on whether we need ANY exit tests to graduate from high school (I am much closer to Dora right now than I am to NNNCr (if I understand his/her position right, and perhaps I don't).

But if we really want assessments, this would be far less expensive and intrusive, far more respectful of student time and the other demands they have in their lives, (and, of course, far less profitable for big testing companies).


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