Will the "Menu of Assessments" Negate the Need for "Parental Opt Out"? NO!
Recently, I posted an article titled Rep. Paul Boyer Won't Allow Parental "Opt Out" Bill to be Heard! It seems that Rep. Boyer believes that another bill, SB2544 Menu of Assessments, removes the need for HB2056 Parental Opt Out.
HB2056 needs its “Day in Court.” H2056 respects the rights of parents to protect their children. You know, don’t you, that parents and their children, some as young as 8 years old, were literally bullied by principals and teachers into taking AzMerit. Rep. Boyer and other legislators need to read RTS comments from parents and hear from them during the Committee process. That won't happen unless HB2056 is put on the agenda.
Truly, legislators will hear from parents if their children’s teachers haven’t designed the test, don’t know what’s on the test, don’t grade the test, and can’t help students correct wrong answers. Legislators will hear from them if they suspect that the state-mandated test doesn’t truly measure their child’s progress. Legislators will hear from them if they suspect that their children are being used as guinea pigs to line the pockets of testing companies, data collectors, and textbook companies. Legislators will hear from them if they suspect that any state-mandated test serves school ratings more than it serves their children.
Here is my “short list” of questions:
1. AzMerit was adopted without any proof from AIR that it was validated. Is this not a concern of the Legislature or State Board? Will you require AIR or any Test Provider to produce a certified copy of industry-standard validity reports? Such reports would show the test’s construct validity, criterion validity, content validity, concurrent validity, and predictive validity.
2. Even ACT and SAT don’t have the power/influence and statistical clout to demonstrate college readiness anymore. The proof is 850 colleges/universities, per Fair Test site, no longer require those college entrance exams for admittance. How can AZMERIT or any other state-mandated assessment be an “accountability” test if the tried and true ACT/SAT can’t do it either?
3. Will any of the assessments still be given “at least annually” beginning in grade 3, for 8-year old children?
4. Will the teachers be required to sign a “security statement” promising that they won’t look at the test? Thus, teachers will spend just as many hours and days “preparing children for the test,” instead of teaching?
5. What will be the length of time from the date of the test until the teachers see and share with their pupils the test results? (Even the Arizona Bar Exam provides feedback in 2 months! See AZ Merit and the Arizona Bar Exam.)
6. Will the teacher be able to go over wrong answers with parents and students, so students know where they should improve? How can you “progress” if you don’t know where to improve?
7. Can you guarantee that the statewide assessments will not ask private, sensitive information of students and/or their families?
8. Can you guarantee that the statewide assessments will not elicit psychological/behavioral information from students and/or their families?
9. Can you guarantee that the Test Providers will not share/sell student information to their sister corporations or non-profits?
10. Can you guarantee that personal/sensitive/behavioral/psychological data collected by any Test Provider will not be entered into the SLDS (Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems) which is now linked to the U.S. Department of Education?
11. Parental authority is at stake in a broad sense. The United Way in Utah is producing videos asking parents to waive their child’s FERPA rights so that more “services” can reach their child, and all partners should readily share the data to serve the child most effectively. “It takes a village to raise a child”? God help us. See Helping Students Through Data Sharing.
12. Why doesn’t the State Legislature trust teachers, and the local schools, to be able to assess their students’ progress?