Yes, you CAN opt your kids out of Connecticut SBAC testing this spring! (By Brian Gosper)

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Brian Gosper is a member of the Killingly Town Council and the parent of two public school students.  This commentary piece first appeared in the CT Mirror.  Yes, you CAN opt your kids out of Connecticut SBAC testing this spring!

Yes, you CAN opt your kids out of Connecticut SBAC testing this spring!

If you child is in grades 3-8 or 11, he or she will be sitting for the SBAC or Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium test this spring. SBAC is the testing arm of the Common Core, or what Connecticut has cleverly renamed “Connecticut Core Standards.”

This rename is no doubt an attempt by the state to deflect from the national and local groundswell of opposition to Common Core. But have no doubt, this is the same sub-par, incredibly expensive, developmentally inappropriate (especially in younger ages), privacy and data-mining nightmare — a top down national attempt at taking over education and stripping local control of standards and curriculum.

This post is not specially written to address Common Core itself — there is plenty of information available on that — but rather to remind all parents that are concerned about the data and privacy issues and content of these tests, that they have the absolute 100 percent right to opt their kids out of the SBAC testing –regardless of what they are told by their child’s school.

Again, there is plenty of support for that position you should research if you are not convinced.

This is a scare tactic and whether true or not, you should still feel confident in opting out if that is your wish. Only by creating push back in the form of financial impacts to the state and municipalities can we affect the change that we need — a full exit of Connecticut from Common Core — and return local control of education to parents, local school boards and teachers.

Whatever you decide, be informed and educated on the matter. Do not take anyone’s opinion or comments at face value, no matter who is saying it. Do your research and decide for yourself what is best for your child and their future.

Here is a great on line resource: ctagainstcommoncore.org.

Brian Gosper is a member of the Killingly Town Council and the parent of two public school students. 

Education School Deans in CT make national headlines with powerful commentary piece

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Diane Ravitch, the nation’s leading public education advocate, whose blog gets as many as 800,000 hits a month has highlighted the courageous stand taken by a number of college and university deans at schools of education in Connecticut.

The anti-testing, pro-teacher position these college deans are taking is especially important in light of the fact that Governor Dannel Malloy’s administration has been engaged in an effort to force the University of Connecticut to turn its School of Education over to the Corporate Education Reform Industry.  The Malloy administration’s State Department of Education has also been working to undermine some of the schools of education in the Connecticut State University System, especially targeting the program at Southern Connecticut State University.

In a recent Hartford Courant commentary piece, education deans from Connecticut’s independent colleges and universities step forward on behalf of teachers, the teaching profession, teacher preparation and public education in Connecticut.

Covering the news, Diane Ravitch posted a story entitled, “Connecticut: Ed School Deans Call for Common Sense and an End to Teacher-Bashing,”

Diane Ravitch writes;

Kevin G. Basmadjian, Dean of the School of Education at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, wrote a powerful article in the Hartford Courant in collaboration with other deans from across the state.

Connecticut’s students are among the highest on the NAEP, yet its policymakers insist that its schools and teachers are unsuccessful. The politicians want more charter schools and Teach for America.

He writes:

“As a nation and a state, we have clearly failed to address the inequalities that disproportionally impact many urban school districts where kids are poor and segregated. Sadly, for the first time in 50 years, a majority of U.S. public school students now come from low-income families. But instead of addressing this crisis, we have demonized teachers for failing to solve problems our government cannot, or will not, solve. Poverty, homelessness and the dangerously high levels of emotional and psychological stress experienced by low-income students — these are the problems many of our nation’s public school teachers face every day.

“Our nation’s obsession with standardized test scores will not solve these problems, and they put our country at great risk intellectually as well as economically. As educational researcher Yong Zhao writes, countries with which we are often compared — such as Singapore, Japan and South Korea — are moving away from a focus on testing in their public schools. Why? Because they have learned from the history of the United States that a great education and nation is one that rewards creativity, originality, imagination and innovation….

“The most recent scapegoat for our nation’s shameful achievement gap is teacher preparation programs, for failing to produce a steady stream of what the U.S. Department of Education abstractly calls “great teachers” to work in our neediest public schools. By blaming teacher preparation programs, the department can yet again divert public attention from the most crucial barrier to achieving educational equality: poverty.

There is a need for more “great teachers” who will commit themselves to our state’s neediest public schools. But achieving this goal will take more than naive slogans or punitive measures levied against teacher preparation programs that do not successfully persuade graduates to teach in these schools. The U.S. Department of Education’s proposed regulations for teacher preparation — with its emphasis on standardized test scores — work against this goal because of the overly technical, anti-intellectual portrait of teaching they endorse. We in Connecticut need to make these jobs more attractive to prospective teachers through increased respect, support and autonomy rather than criticism, disdain and surveillance.”

The entire commentary piece authored by the deans can be found here: Stop Blaming Teachers And Relying On Tests.

The authors of the powerful piece are Kevin G. Basmadjian, the dean of the School of Education at Quinnipiac University. Also participating in writing this piece were: James Carl, dean of the Isabelle Farrington College of Education at Sacred Heart University; Allen P. Cook, dean of the School of Education at the University of Bridgeport; Sandy Grande, chair of the Education Department at Connecticut College; Robert D. Hannafin, dean of the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions at Fairfield University; Ann Monroe-Baillargeon, dean of the School of Education at the University of Saint Joseph; Nancy S. Niemi, chair and professor in the Education Department at the University of New Haven; and Joan E. Venditto, director of education programs at Albertus Magnus College.

CT Teacher Martin Walsh Slams Common Core SBAC Testing Scheme

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Martin Walsh is a Connecticut teacher and public education advocate.  He is also challenging the incumbent CEA President Sheila Cohen in this spring’s election for CEA Officers.

In a commentary piece posted at CTMirror today entitled, “SBAC test is part of corporate plan to discredit Connecticut public schools,” Martin Walsh makes one of the strongest statements by any educator about the failing of the Common Core SBAC Test.

If you are going to read one piece about the discriminatory, unfair and inappropriate Common Core Testing Scam, this is the piece to read.  Read it then then pass it on to every parents, teacher and citizens you know.  Now is the time to opt out children out of the Common Core SBAC Testing disaster

SBAC test is part of corporate plan to discredit Connecticut public schools (By Marin Walsh)

Our founders recognized that the fundamental purpose of government is to protect the rights of the people. The Declaration of Independence reads in pertinent part “…A]ll men are created equal… they are endowed…with certain unalienable rights…That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed…”

How, then, does the State of Connecticut justify the obstacles and roadblocks it has erected to prevent parents from exercising the right to opt their children out of corporate-backed standardized testing?

Easy. It doesn’t. It puts them in place and arrogantly dares anyone to defy them. And it doesn’t expect many parents to challenge the test anyway.

Why aren’t more parents alarmed by these for-profit corporate-sponsored tests? Largely because they trust their public schools and local elected officials to notify them of threats to their children’s welfare.

Sadly, most superintendents, boards of education and even the teachers’ unions are letting parents and schoolchildren down by not informing them of the pernicious nature of the SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium) test.

For example, most parents don’t realize that the FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) was amended to allow the corporations behind SBAC to use the test for data mining. Children’s data is no longer protected by federal law.

Additionally, the cut scores which determine passing rates have been arbitrarily set to ensure that about 60 percent of those taking the language arts test will fail and the failure rate for the math portion will be about 70 percent.

Not content with labeling schools and teachers as failures in order to advance its agenda, the corporate reform movement (actively abetted by Gov. Dannel Malloy and the State Board of Education) callously plans to attach the label to children.

Mastery test results should be used to measure progress and show teachers where support is needed to promote student success, not to brand children as failures.

In New York, and other states, test results have caused outrage after the fact and resulted in strong coalitions of parents and teachers opposed to toxic testing. Superintendents, administrators and teacher unions know this. Why are they silent? Why are so many of them willing tools in the state’s plan to thwart the right of parents to opt out? They should be challenged on that point until a satisfactory answer is provided.

The real purpose of the SBAC test is to buttress the corporate mantra of “failed public schools” in order to advance their case for the privatization of education. Rupert Murdoch put it bluntly in 2010 when he said “When it comes to K through 12 education, we see a $500 billion sector in the U.S. alone…”

That figure comes in part from test support materials, software and new textbooks aligned with the Common Core, but much of it will come from the expansion of charter schools.

Today, Connecticut is dumping $100 million dollars of taxpayer money into charter schools every year with little to no oversight and the governor’s proposed budget contains funding for an additional four. At the same time, magnet schools have gone unfunded and the state is doing everything in its power to dismiss or delay the CCJEF (Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding) vs. Rell case which would require the state to honor its obligation to adequately fund public schools, an obligation which it has never met.

The SBAC is one aspect of a larger scheme which, at its core, is about corporate greed, not the welfare of children. I urge parents to investigate this issue for themselves and to opt their children out of the SBAC if they have concerns. A sample opt-out letter can be downloaded from this website: Walshminnick2015.org.

Martin Walsh, a teacher in Glastonbury and resident of Wethersfield, is a candidate for president of the Connecticut Education Association.

More than 90% of English Language Learners “Projected” to Fail Common Core SBAC Test

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The time for outrage is upon us!

The Common Core testing scam must be stopped.

Considering that many of the world’s greatest scientists, authors, actors, teachers and leaders were once English Language Learners one would think the public education system in the United States would be designed to promote and support opportunities for those who need extra help learning the English Language. Moreover you would think education policymakers would be working to find ways to take advantage of the opportunities that having a multilingual population present.

But instead, the Corporate Education Reform Industry and their supporters are pushing a political agenda that actually seeks to isolate and discriminate against the overwhelming majority of students who face any sort of challenge, including those who aren’t yet fluent in the English language.

The fundamental discriminatory nature of the Common Core testing program is yet another example of the insidious and detrimental approach that the corporate elite call “education reform.”

Take for example the situation here in Connecticut.

Faced with a growing revolt against the discriminatory, unfair and inappropriate Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) test, Connecticut Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy issued a press release yesterday in defense of the Common Core SBAC test saying,

“Tests are important tools in the teaching and learning toolbox that helps track student progress towards success in college and careers.”

Yes Governor Malloy, tests are important tools, but the Common Core SBAC test is not a mastery test or even a useful tool in the “teaching and learning toolbox.”  Instead it is a computer-based standardized testing system that is specifically designed in such a way as to intentionally define the vast majority of public students as failures.

Among the Common Core SBAC test’s greatest failure is its utter contempt for English Language Learners – students that are not presently proficient in the English language.

Rather than focus on developing the teaching and learning tools to ensure English Language Learners succeed, the Common Core SBAC test is a mechanism to label ELL students, and the educators who teach them, as failures.

The paid spokesperson for the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER), a corporate-funded advocacy group supporting Governor Malloy’s Corporate Education Reform Initiative and the Common Core SBAC test, recently dismissed concerns about the Common Core SBAC testing program during a NBC-CT TV interview by suggesting that those who needed “extra help” taking the test would get it.  His example, students who faced language barriers could have their Common Core SBAC questions asked in Spanish.

Forget the fact that the children in the Hartford Public School System go back to homes that speak 79 different languages…what CCER’s executive director failed to address is that it is the Common Core SBAC test itself that is actually the problem because it is designed in such a way that more than 90% of ELL students will not meet the artificial “goal” level.

This year every Connecticut public school is required to implement the Common Core SBAC test and the pass/fail “cut scores” are based on the results of last year’s 2014 Common Core SBAC field test.

According to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium’s own information, more than 90 percent of the English Language Learners will be labeled as failures.

Rather than discuss whether the test is an appropriate tool or is appropriately calibrated when it comes to passing or failing, the proponents simply say that “it is what it is.”

That, in English, is called discrimination and racism….

And it has no place in the nation’s public schools.

Here are some of the “projected” results for the Common Core SBAC Test

Projected Failure Rate for English Language Learners on English (ELA) Section

4th Grade ELL Students    90.2% WILL FAIL
 6th Grade ELL Students  95.1% WILL FAIL
 8th Grade ELL Students  95.2% WILL FAIL
11TH Grade ELL Students  94.3% WILL FAIL

 

Projected Failure Rate for English Language Learners on Math Section

4th Grade ELL Students    89.1% WILL FAIL
 6th Grade ELL Students  94.8% WILL FAIL 
 8th Grade ELL Students  94.7% WILL FAIL
11TH Grade ELL Students  94.3% WILL FAIL

 

Important Note:  The SBAC Pass/Fail “cut scores” were set in November 2014 and Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, voted in favor of these Pass/Fail rates.  Interestingly, Vermont and New Hampshire abstained on the vote because they didn’t think the way the tests were being scored was fair.

Yesterday’s Wait, What? blog post explained that the Common Core SBAC testing scheme is geared to identify 9 in 10 special education students as failures.  It is equally reprehensible that a massive national standardized testing system would be created in which that more than 90 percent of our nation’s English Language Learners are labeled as failing.

The problem is not our children.

The problem is the immoral and unethical Corporate Education Reform Industry and their political allies like Democratic Governors Dan Malloy and Andrew Cuomo who are undermining the sanctity of a fair and just society.

The hundreds of billions spent on the Common Core testing operation could have made a real difference if it was spent on supporting the quality of education for our nation’s children rather than for creating a discriminatory testing system that undermines their very sense of self and self-worth.

Parents need to opt their children out of the Common Testing debacle before it is too late.

You can find out more about the SBAC cut score system at: http://www.smarterbalanced.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Disaggregated-FieldTestDataFINAL.pdf

Common Core SBAC Test Designed to ID 9 in 10 Special Education Children as Failures

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The Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium test is intentionally designed to ensure that the vast majority of students are deemed failures.  [The Common Core PARCC test is no better]

According to SBAC’s own official policy, the Common Core SBAC test is designed so that almost 7 in 10 children who take the “mandatory” test fail to reach “goal” in math and about 6 in 10 are deemed failures in English Language Arts.

Making the Common Core SBAC test even more inappropriate is that the fact that the 2014 SBAC Field Test results prove that the test discriminates against students who come from poor households, students who are not proficient in the English Language (English Language Learners) and students who need special education services.

Perhaps the most outrageous reality of all is that the Common Core SBAC test is rigged to ensure that the almost all students who require special education services are deemed to be failures.

Not only is the Common Core SBAC test unfair and inappropriate, it is nothing short of immoral and unethical.

According the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Disaggregated Field Test Data for 2014, the cut scores that have been set for this year’s test are designed to produce the following results:

Projected Failure Rate for Special Education Students with IEPs on the Common Core SBAC Math Section

4th Grade Math – Special Education Students with IEPs 87.1% WILL FAIL
6th Grade Math – Special Education Students with IEPs 91.3% WILL FAIL
8th Grade Math –  Special Education Students with IEPs 90.3% WILL FAIL
11TH Grade Math –  Special Education Students with IEPs 92.5% WILL FAIL

 

Projected Failure Rate for Special Education Students with IEPs on Common Core SBAC English (ELA) Section

4th Grade Math – Special Education Students with IEPs 83.6% WILL FAIL
6th Grade Math – Special Education Students with IEPs 90.1% WILL FAIL 
8th Grade Math –  Special Education Students with IEPs 91.5% WILL FAIL
11TH Grade Math –  Special Education Students with IEPs 91% WILL FAIL

 

These are the official projected results based on the SBAC Field Test of 2014 and the Pass/Fail “cut scores” adopted by the SBAC Committee in November 2014.

A civilized society does not produce a Common Core testing system that is designed so that 9 in 10 special education students are deemed failures…. But then again, the Corporate Education Reform Industry does not reflect the values of a civilized society.

Check out the results based on the SBAC cut score system at: http://www.smarterbalanced.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Disaggregated-FieldTestDataFINAL.pdf

And after you read what is going on – then do everything you can to opt your children out of this unfair and inappropriate Common Core SBAC test and derail their criminal system of unfair, inappropriate and discriminatory standardized testing.

Connecticut Education Association says put the focus on student learning, not testing.

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Seven weeks after Governor Dannel Malloy was sworn into a second term and the Connecticut General Assembly began to consider legislation for the 2015 Session, the Connecticut Education Association held a press conference today to proclaim;

Teachers and voters sound the alarm on excessive testing

File this one under – a little late, but better late than never…

With the massive inappropriate, unfair and discriminatory Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) testing scam about to sweep into Connecticut’s public schools, the Connecticut Education Association  held a “major news conference” to discuss:

  • what we want to happen to testing;
  • how we want it to happen; and,
  • what we—together through legislative advocacy—must do to get it done.

The union representing most of Connecticut’s public school teachers said they were going to, “call on the Connecticut General Assembly to reduce the testing burden on students.”

The CEA’s news release can be found at:  CEA news release

The CEA is also releasing a new public opinion poll that “indicates the voting public wants the state legislature to take action to reduce testing.”

The CEA’s leadership is also announcing that, it has,

“[B]een in high-level discussions with decision makers at the U.S. Department of Education to determine how Connecticut can meet onerous federal requirements, while still reducing testing. Sound impossible? It isn’t.”

The teacher’s union is going to air two new television ads about the testing issue which apparently can be seen here – Click here to see the new ads.

And the CEA has, “launched a petition drive to round out our efforts to get positive change. Click here to sign the CEA petition.”

I added my name, hopefully other Wait, What? readers will sign the petition as well.

The CEA press release apparently makes no mention of what, if anything, the American Federation of Teachers – Connecticut Chapter is doing to stop the students, parents and teachers by fighting the Common Core SBAC testing madness.

The press release also fails to address what the CEA expected since the union leadership had overruled its own endorsement committee and through the union’s support behind Governor Dannel Malloy who has pledged to stay the course on his Corporate Education Reform Industry Agenda.

The AFT donated in excess of $600,000; while the National Education Association gave Malloy’s various campaign accounts a much smaller amount of money.

More on this breaking news as it becomes available.

Unfortunately, the CEA press release also fails to make a strong and definitive statement of support for a parent’s fundamental right to opt their children out of the unfair and discriminatory Common Core Test.

Nevertheless, it is good news that the leadership of Connecticut’s largest union is taking action to urge the legislature to reduce the amount of standardized testing.

Again, you can find the CEA press release here: http://www.cea.org/issues/press/2015/feb/23/teachers-and-voters-sound-the-alarm-on-excessive-testing.cfm

More on this breaking news as it becomes available.

Teachers across America are fighting for their students – Where the hell are CT’s teacher unions

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Governor Malloy has made it painfully clear – he intends to stay the course on the discriminatory, unfair and inappropriate Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC).

This from the Governor who said he didn’t mind teachers teaching to the test as long as the test scores went up.

The truth is that Common Core SBAC Test is rigged to ensure that the majority of Connecticut students are deemed failures.

Furthermore, the outrageous and absurd Common Core Test is particularly unfair for children of color, children who aren’t fluent in the English Language and children who require special educations services.

Despite these facts, Malloy’s Commissioner of Education voted to set the pass/fail mark at a level that as many as 7 in 10 students will fail and the State Department of Education continues to instruct local superintendents to mislead parents into believing that they do not have the fundamental right to protect their children by opting them out of this dangerous testing scheme.

But of course, parents have the fundamental right to protect their children and there is absolutely no federal or state law, regulation or policy that allows the state or local school districts to punish children whose parents refuse to allow their children to be abused by this Common Core testing system.

In state’s across the nation, public teachers are stepping forward and risking their jobs to say enough is enough and that the massive and inappropriate Common Core Testing Scheme has got to be stopped before it unfairly defines an entire generation of children as failures.

In many cases, teacher unions are taking the lead in speaking out for students, parents and teachers against the Common Core Testing program.

But from the leadership of the Connecticut Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers – Connecticut Chapter these has been no public criticism of Governor Malloy or his reliance on the Common Core Testing scam that seeks to undermine public education in Connecticut and denigrate teachers and the teaching profession.

Instead the leadership of the two teacher unions endorsed Malloy in his re-election campaign and the American Federation of Teachers provided Malloy in excess of $600,000 to fund his campaign.

The time is long past due for the leaders of Connecticut’s teachers unions to join their colleagues in other states and condemn the Common Core Testing system.  The teachers unions need to demand a halt to this year’s testing program and demand that the test results from this unfair test are not used to evaluate the hardworking and dedicated public school teachers of Connecticut.

If the leadership of Connecticut’s teacher unions need some guidance on what to say about the disastrous Common Core Testing is, here are just a few of the many links they should follow;

Chicago Teachers Union joins growing national opposition to deeply flawed Common Core Standards

Resolution to Support the “I Refuse” Movement

Includes New York Associated Teachers of Huntington, Baldwin Teachers Association, Bellmore-Merrick United Secondary Teachers, Bellport Teachers Association, Bethpage Congress of Teachers, Brentwood Teachers Association, Brockport Teachers Association, Camden Teachers Association, Central Islip Teachers Association, Clarkstown Teachers Association, Connetquot Teachers Association, Farmingdale Federation of Teachers, Fulton Teachers Association, Hamburg Teachers Association, Hastings Teachers Association, Ichabod Crane Teachers Association, Islip Teachers Association, Kingston Teachers Federation, Lancaster Central Teachers Association, Lakeland Federation of Teachers, Lawrence Teachers’ Association, Levittown Teachers Union, Locust Valley School Employees Association, Lynbrook Teachers Association, Miller Place Teachers Association, MORE Caucus (NYC), New Hartford Teachers Association, New Paltz United Teachers, New Rochelle Federation of United School Employees, New York Mills Teachers’ Association, North Rockland Teachers Association, North Syracuse Education Association, Patchogue-Medford Congress of Teachers, Plainedge Federation of Teachers, Plainview-Old Beth Page Congress of Teachers, Port Jefferson Teachers Association, Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association, Rocky Point Teachers Association, Rome Teachers Association, Sherburne-Earlville Teachers’ Association
Smithtown Teachers Association, Springville Faculty Association, Shoreham Wading River Teachers Association, Teachers Association of Lindenhurst, Troy Teachers Association, Valley Stream Teachers Association, West Babylon Teachers Association, West Canada Valley Teachers Association, West Genesee Teachers’ Association, West Seneca Teachers Association

Portland teachers Oregon union resolution objects to new Smarter Balanced test

Florida Education Association & Palm Beach County Pass Anti-Testing Resolutions

Boston Teachers Union Resolution Against Testing

BAT JOINT RESOLUTION FOR TEST REFUSAL/APPR RESOLUTION

Is your public school student a “failure” – the Common Core SBAC Test says probably yes!

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IMPORTANT:  Parents, teachers, school administrators, elected officials – PLEASE READ

A growing number of Connecticut parents are beginning to understand that in just a few weeks, the state’s public schools will start giving the new Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) test.

But the devastating impact of these tests is yet to be fully understood.

Like all standardized tests, the Common Core SBAC discriminates against students who come from poor households, students who are not fluent in the English language and students who have special education needs.

But worse, unlike the traditional Connecticut Master Test which was more or less designed to determine whether students were learning what was being taught at their grade level in Connecticut, the Common Core SBAC test is rigged to determine that the vast majority of Connecticut students are deemed failures because they are not at “goal” level.

First off, the Common Core SBAC exam fails to test students on what they have been learning in Connecticut.  Instead the Common Core SBAC test is seeking to determine if students have reached a level that is about two grade levels above the present curriculum.

Second, and even more troubling, Governor Malloy’s administration approved Common Core SBAC pass/fail “cut scores” that are intentionally set to ensure that as many as six in ten children fail to meet goal in English and as many as seven in ten fail to reach goal in Math.

To repeat, the Common Core SBAC pass/fail rate is intentionally set to ensure that the vast majority of public school students are deemed failures, and making the situation even more unfair, the Common Core SBAC scheme particularly targets minority students, poor students, children who are not proficient in English and students with disabilities that require special education services.

Although tens of thousands of students participated in last year’s Common Core SBAC “Test of the Test,” Governor Malloy’s administration has refused to release the test results fearing, no doubt, that by informing parents, teachers, elected officials and the public of the results of the unfair Common Core SBAC test, opposition to these inappropriate standardized tests will grow exponentially.

It is unclear exactly what data that they Malloy’s Department of Education has been given by the SBAC organization, but documents available through the Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Coalition (SBAC) reveal that data from last year’s massive testing program were available at least as early as December 22, 2014.

A review of the national results of the SBAC data makes it extremely clear why the Malloy administration would want to cover up and keep the Connecticut SBAC results because they clearly show that the Common Core SBAC test is even more discriminatory, unfair and inappropriate than critics ever imagined.

Here is just a quick snapshot of some of the Common Core SBAC results to date.

#1 Fourth Grade Math Scores

Demographic % at goal according to the Connecticut Mastery Test 2011 % at goal according to the Common Core SBAC Test 2014 (National Data)
Girls 66% 36%
Boys 68% 39%
African American 38% 15%
Latino 45% 21%
White 78% 43%
Special Education 36% 13%
ELL/English Language Learners 27% 10%
Free Lunch 41% 22%

 

#2 Fourth Grade Writing/English Language Arts Scores

Demographic % at goal according to the Connecticut Mastery Test 2011 % at goal according to the Common Core SBAC Test 2014 (National Data)
Girls 73% 46%
Boys 59% 36%
African American 42% 24%
Latino 44% 25%
White 76% 48%
Special Education 21% 16%
ELL/English Language Learners 27% 10%
Free Lunch 42% 27%

 

#4 Eighth Grade Math Scores

Demographic % at goal according to the Connecticut Mastery Test 2011 % at goal according to the Common Core SBAC Test 2014 (National Data)
Girls 67% 32%
Boys 66% 33%
African American 37% 16%
Latino 39% 19%
White 79% 40%
Special Education 28% 8%
ELL/English Language Learners 13% 5%
Free Lunch 36% 20%

 

 

#4 Eight Grade Writing/English Language Arts Scores

Demographic % at goal according to the Connecticut Mastery Test 2011 % at goal according to the Common Core SBAC Test 2014 (National Data)
Girls 73% 49%
Boys 58% 34%
African American 40% 23%
Latino 39% 29%
White 76% 49%
Special Education 20% 9%
ELL/English Language Learners 9% 5%
Free Lunch 36% 29%

 

After reviewing this data, parents should take immediate steps to opt their children out of the discriminatory Common Core SBAC test.

And then they should be asking why this data has not been shared with local boards of education and parents.

The time to protect your children from the inappropriate Common Core SBAC testing scam is now!

 

Source of Data

CMT via Connecticut State Department of Education CEDAR

SBAC Field Test Data by Demographic Group, Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium 21/22/2014

Opt-Out Gobbledygook – The Regional School District No. 14 Example

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Parents across Connecticut  and across the nation are stepping up to protect their children by opting them out of the discriminatory, unfair and inappropriate Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) test. [Also called the PARCC Test in half the states.]

An increasing number of school districts are, albeit quietly, recognizing that parents have a fundamental right to opt their children out of the Common Core testing scheme.

But some school districts are still failing to provide parents with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth when it comes to the Common Core SBAC test.

Take the example of Regional School District #14 which is made up of Bethlehem and Woodbury.

Although local school officials manage a full array of impressive and successful public schools, the district continues to misinform their students, parents and teachers about opting out of the Common Core SBAC tests.

Local officials, following the directives of Governor Malloy’s State Department of Education, are telling parents,

“Since participation in state assessments is required by state and federal law, there is no legal provision for what is being referred to as “opt-out.”

The memo posted on the Regional School District #14 website goes on to add,

“Participation in testing is a requirement just as school attendance is a requirement.”

That statement is simply not true.

While there are laws that hold parents and children accountable for failing to attend school, to reiterate the entire issue again, there is no federal or state law, regulation or policy that allows the government or local school district to punish a parent or child for opting out of the Common Core SBAC Test! (Period, end of story.)

School districts simply do not have the legal authority to prevent a parent from opting their child out of the SBAC test.

Regional District #14 does correctly state that,

“The rules for state assessment have not changed with the change in test form from CMT/CAPT to Smarter Balanced. Just as with CMT/CAPT, districts must make every effort to ensure that all students participate in the state assessment…”

The “mandate” relating to whether students must take the test has not changed.  It is the same language that has guided school districts for more than two decades and year after year thousands of Connecticut students DID NOT TAKE the Connecticut Master Test (CMT/CAPT), for any number of reasons, and none of those students were punished.

Students could not be punished for not taking the CMTs and they cannot be punished for not taking the Common Core SBAC test.

In defense of their effort to force students to take the Common Core SBAC test, Regional District #14 claims that,

“If students do not take the test, the school is penalized through the Participation Rate. The CSDE requires districts to account for all students that are registered. Schools that don’t meet the 100% target may be penalized through additional state oversight or funding.”  [District official are referring to what is called the 95% rule which is a federal and state mandate that at least 95% of the students take these standardized tests.]

However, according the nationally-respected nonprofit, nonpartisan, Fair Test organization,

 “No school or district anywhere in the country has ever been penalized for failing to test enough (95%) of its students.

Even more to the point, the so-called “95% Rule” would never come into play in a school district like Regional District #14.

These local officials are referring to the Connecticut law that ranks all schools in the state and defines what is called a “review school.”  But to be labeled a “Review School” it must have a participation rate on standardized tests that is less than 95 percent, a four-year cohort graduation rate below 60 percent and a three-year baseline School Performance Index (SPIs) that is below 64.

Regional District #14’s graduation rate is exceeds 95 percent and its School Performance Indexes run in the high 80s, more than 25 points above what would be needed to become a “review school.”

The concern that “Schools that don’t meet the 100% target may be penalized” is simply wrong.

Regional District #14 also writes,

“A school does not have the legal authority to excuse students from testing, so the sole option for not taking the assessment is the “Left Blank” option.

While school officials should inform parents about how they intend to code the child’s SBAC test when the child is opted out, the process is not complex and it is provided for in the contract between the State of Connecticut and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC).

Finally, in a surprisingly positive step, Regional District #14 does inform parents that, “SBAC assesses student performance on grade level expectations (not mastery).

That statement is true and extremely important because it reiterates why the Common Core SBAC test is not even a true mastery test.   The Common Core SBAC Testing Program shouldn’t even be given in Connecticut’s public schools let alone mandated.

When all the gobbledygook is pushed aside, the bottom line is that Connecticut parents and guardians can and should opt their child out of the Common Core SBAC testing scam and Connecticut’s school districts need to stop trying to mislead parents about this vital issue.

You can review the Regional District #14 SBAC information at link and link

Malloy on Corporate Education Reform Agenda – “stay the course” “even if [policies] aren’t that popular”

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NBC Connecticut political reporter Max Reiss sat down with Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy for an interview today about Malloy’s budget speech tomorrow.  It will be televised during this evening’s news.

Following the interview, the NBC reporter Tweeted;

On education, @GovMalloyOffice said he plans to “stay the course” with policies & most funding “even if some aren’t that popular right now.”

Okay Teachers Unions – American Federation of Teachers – CT Chapter and Connecticut Education Association – now would be a good time to explain how you “took him to the woodshed” and got him to change his massive anti-teacher, pro-charter school, pro-Common Core Testing, anti-public school agenda in return for your endorsement and help getting him the votes he needed to win re-election last November.

A Democratic Governor stays “all in” with the corporate education reform industry despite endorsements from the AFT and NEA affiliates in the state!  Samuel Gompers, John Lewis, Eugene Debs, Walter Reuther and many others are rolling over in their graves.

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