Cross post from Jon Pelto’s Wait What?
Today is the day…
In nearly every public school in Connecticut students will put aside the learning process during the coming weeks in order to become guinea pigs for the Common Core Smarter Balanced Field Test of a test and the entire corporate education reform industry.
In some states only 10 percent of students were assigned the task of becoming test subjects for the billion dollar education testing industry. But in Connecticut, Governor Malloy and his Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, were more than willing to turn nearly 100 percent of the state’s public school students into guinea pigs.
Across the state the only public school superintendents will to stand up and protect their children from this inappropriate and unfair experiment were the ones running the following schools. (If you live in one of these towns you should give your school administrators a thank you shout out).
Region School District 11
Public schools students in the rest of the state will be spending much of the next few weeks taking the test of the test rather than using their time to learn.
In order to make room for lengthy and complex testing system, many school districts are giving up so-called “Specials” like art, music, PE and even social studies to make room for this massive testing taking experiment.
As we’ve all seen, in the run up to this corporate charade, Commissioner Pryor and the Malloy administration consistently worked to mislead parents into thinking they didn’t have the right to opt their children out of these tests.
Commissioner Pryor used many claims to push his “no opt out” message, some of them were no less than out-and-out lies. His primary argument was that this Common Core Test of a test was a “mastery test” as defined by Connecticut state law and therefore students were mandated to take the test.
But the entity designing the Common Core Test of a test makes it very clear on their website that this Common Core Smarter Balanced Field Test of a test is anything but a “Mastery Test” as it is defined by Connecticut state law.
The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium states:
“The field test will evaluate the performance of more than 20,000 assessment items and performance tasks—as well as the performance of the online testing system. For test developers, the Field Test will show which questions work well and which ones need to be improved so that they contribute to a fair and accurate assessment of student achievement.”
Sadly, Governor Malloy nor the state’s top four legislative leaders were willing to step in and protect parents and their children by requesting an official legal opinion from Attorney General George Jepsen on whether Commissioner Pryor’s claims were correct.
Another key factor proving that this Common Core Test of a test is not a Connecticut Mastery Test is the fact that in order to be a “Connecticut Mastery Test,” the state must provide students and their parents with the results of the test.
However, Commissioner Pryor and his team of education reform proponents have consistently stated that no student specific results would be provided to parents this year.
So the test doesn’t measure mastery and it doesn’t provide results and yet the Malloy administration inappropriately claimed that it was a “Mastery Test,” thus limiting the rights of parents to refuse to have their children tested.
With each statement, the actions of the Malloy administration become more suspicious.
Just the other day a distinguished former school administrator wrote to Wait, What? noting,
“The claim has been made that parents and districts will not be able to get the results of student tests. However, it is my understanding that students are entering a unique identification number, along with his or her name, when they take the test. If that’s the case, it seems to me that a student’s test can be tracked, otherwise, why would students have to enter a unique identification number. Wouldn’t they just add a generic number or enter as “guest”?
The observation is an excellent one.
Why is Commissioner Pryor saying that parents will not have access to their children’s responses when it appears that the Common Core Test of the test is designed to track individual student responses.
If individual responses do exist then parents have a fundamental and legal right to getting information about how their children did.
Finally, every parent should understand the most important issue of all.
Unlike the Connecticut Mastery Test, the Common Core Smarter Balanced Test is designed to ensure that the vast majority of students fail.
It is expected that when the Common Core test is fully implemented, the number of students deemed proficient will plummet from more than 75 percent to about 25 percent. This is because the material on the Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Test and the “cut score” used to decide who is proficient and who isn’t has been designed by the corporate education reform industry to prove that students, teachers and public schools are failing.
One need only read the stories coming out of New York to see how the testing industry is gaming the system.
These corporate education reform industry advocates have developed Common Core standards that are not developmentally appropriate and are then using the Common Core Test to make it appear that the majority of students and schools are failures.
Let us not forget that the new testing is taking place despite the fact that school districts have not even had the time to develop Common Core curriculum that could prepare students for this new testing scheme.
The whole testing system is a farce.
But of course, we can’t forget that this farce it is being pushed by Governor Malloy who famously said that he didn’t mind teaching to the test as long as the test scores went up.
As students, parents, teachers and school administrators experience the new Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Field Test, please take the time to post your observations here at Wait, What? or send them to email@example.com