West Virginia Homeschoolers Threatened With Common Core

I did not realize that West Virginia was not a friendly state for homeschoolers, and it became less friendly during debate on the West Virginia Senate floor.

HSLDA reports that State Senator Michael Romano (D-Clarksburg) thinks homeschoolers should have to follow Common Core:

Governor James C. Justice vetoed legislation that would have granted homeschool students equal access to public school vocational classes and sports. And a senator who opposed the 2016 homeschool modernization law has continued to disparage home education and suggest new ways to thwart it.

During floor debate on House Bill 2196, which would have made homeschool students eligible for public high school extracurricular activities, witnesses heard Senator Michael Romano propose that homeschool students be required to follow the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

Romano has been a vocal opponent of homeschooling in West Virginia for a long time. He has done everything he can to oppose improvements in state laws that would benefit families who have chosen to exercise their fundamental liberty to educate their children at home.

Romano’s invoking the Common Core is tantamount to calling for increased government control over home education. Many parents reject the Common Core’s one-size-fits-all approach as antithetical to homeschooling’s ideal of providing individualized education.

Considering Romano is a Democrat in a Republican-controlled chamber I’m not concerned about this coming to fruition, but it is disconcerting nonetheless.

Will West Virginia’s Common Core Prohibition Change Their Standards?

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed HB 2711 into law last week. It directs the West Virginia State Board of Education in several ways, the board:

(1) Is prohibited from implementing the Common Core academic standards;

(2) Shall allow West Virginia educators the opportunity to participate in the development of the academic standards;

(3) Shall provide by rule for a cyclical review, by West Virginia educators, of any academic standards that are proposed by the state board;

(4) Shall review assessment tools, including tests of student performance and measures of school and school system performance, and determine when any improvements or additions are necessary;

(5) Shall consider multiple assessments, including, but not limited to, a state testing program developed in conjunction with the state’s professional educators with assistance from such knowledgeable consultants as may be necessary, which may include criterion referenced tests;

(6) Is prohibited from adopting the Smarter Balanced Assessment system or the PARCC assessment system as the statewide summative assessment;

(7) Shall review all accountability measures, such as the accreditation and personnel evaluation systems and consider any improvements or additions deemed necessary; and

(8) Shall ensure that all statewide assessments of student performance are secure.

(c) The state board shall not adopt any national or regional testing program tied to federal funding, or national or regional academic standards tied to federal funding, without oversight by the legislative oversight commission on education accountability.

The question is this, will this law change the standards? The West Virginia State Board tweaked the standards recently, and the Charleston Gazette reported that education leaders say no.

“We are fine with that and we are beyond Common Core,” state Schools Superintendent Steve Paine said of the line while testifying at an April 6 Senate Education Committee meeting.

“No, it’s not going to require them to do that at all,” Dale Lee, president of the West Virginia Education Association school employees union, said of the notion that the bill could force the state board to change. “In my opinion, it just prevents us from going back to Common Core standards, which we don’t have anyway and haven’t had in a while.”

He used the common argument that West Virginia’s standards have been similar and even predate Common Core.

“I’m not concerned at all, because if you took that literally that you couldn’t adopt any standards that were in Common Core standards, you wouldn’t have any standards,” Lee said.

“I never really thought of it as being challenged in court,” said A.J. Rogers, executive director of the West Virginia Association of School Administrators. “But I know the organization is very much in favor of leaving the standards alone and letting the teachers teach.”

Rogers has said his organization includes almost all county public school system superintendents. He said the group still wants Justice to veto the bill because it nixes the current Regional Education Service Agencies.

“We felt the Common Core was repealed when [former superintendent] Dr. [Michael] Martirano stood before the Legislature last year and said Common Core is repealed,” Rogers said.

Since the state board tweaked a few standards, education leaders believe they can ignore the law. If West Virginia does not successfully implement the law, I hope someone sues. Educrats need to be held accountable.

When a Repeal Isn’t a Repeal

West Virginia State Capitol Building – Charleston, WV
Photo credit: O Palsson (CC-By-2.0)

SB 524 currently before the West Virginia Senate is being touted as a Common Core repeal. The bill, unlike the HB 2443 introduced in the West Virginia House of Delegates, does not effectively repeal the Common Core State Standards.

Let me explain.

Right now SB 524, if passed, would prohibit the State Board of Education from implementing the Common Core State Standards by July 1, 2018. Sounds good right?

Well, that in itself is a a watering down of the bill as this reflects an amendment, the introduced version said the prohibition was effective July 1, 2017. So this gives Common Core another year to be entrenched in West Virginia schools.

Then the HB 2443 and the original version of SB 524 required the adoption of Massachusetts’ ELA standards pre-Common Core and California’s math standards pre-Common Core. This was amended out.

Why? Susan Berry with Breitbart News reports the explanation State Senator Robert Karnes (R-Ripley), the author of that amendment, told her:

I’m fine with those standards, but there was a real concerted effort by some to…I don’t know if you could exactly say slander, but let’s just say they hit those standards very hard for being old and out of touch…and it was carrying a lot of weight. So, the amendment, essentially, served one purpose, and that was to keep the bill alive and move it over to the House.

And there’s an effort over there to define more clearly what we did in the amendment, essentially saying that state teachers, state educators, will be involved in any standards formulation, adoption, etc. We put that in there, and I’m told that on the House side they’ve got some even better language.

But, having those specific standards in there, I believe would have essentially killed the bill. It’s better to keep it moving than to watch it die.

There is not requirement for the state to adopt proven standards right away, but move straight to the development of new standards which would require the Board to “allow West Virginia educators the opportunity to participate in the development of the academic standards.”

There would then be a sixty day comment period and four public hearings.

Needless to say, that doesn’t provide any assurances West Virginia won’t end up with a rebrand. Actually what we’ve seen thus far in other states pretty much guarantees it.

The State Board of Education recently voted to move away from Smarter Balanced starting next school year. What will the state end up with?

It’s important to note that the Every Student Succeeds Act requires as part of a state’s accountability plan to have standards and an assessment that are aligned with one another.

If the State Board of Education is develops a new assessment before being prohibited from implementing the Common Core State Standards what do we think their new assessment will be aligned to?

When they develop new standards under this new assessment what do we think those standards will be aligned to?

In the end you have Common Core or some version of it.

I agree with Erin Tuttle, co-founder of Hoosiers Against Common Core, that saw a rebranding in their own state Susan Berry quotes Tuttle in her piece:

Despite boastful claims from state legislators that Common Core was repealed, the people of West Virginia aren’t buying it. The fact that every school is still using Common Core textbooks and administering a Common Core test (Smarter Balance) is an everyday reminder to students, parents, and teachers that the state legislature’s claim is false….

….Until state legislators stop lying to themselves and admit what everyone else knows to be true, very little progress will be made by West Virginia’s schools. The state legislature needs to face reality and pass a bill that not only repeals Common Core, but ensures it is replaced by standards that work.

West Virginia Legislature Considers Common Core Repeal

West Virginia State Capitol Building – Charleston, WV
Photo credit: O Palsson (CC-By-2.0)

Another bill has been added to our growing list. HB 2443 was introduced last Tuesday in the West Virginia House of Delegates which would repeal the Common Core State Standards and replace them with proven standards. The bill that is sponsored by State Delegates Michael Folk (R-Martinsburg), Pat McGeehan (R-Chester), Jim Butler (R-Henderson), Jill Upson (R-Charles Town), Danny Hamrick (R-Clarksburg), S. Marshall Wilson (R-Gerrardstown), Tony Paynter (R-Hanover), Joshua Higginbotham (R-Poca), Saira Blair (R-Martinsburg) and Patrick Martin (R-Charleston).

Here is what the bill does:

  • The bill asserts the Legislature’s constitutional authority in determining standards: “The Constitution of the State of West Virginia, section one, article twelve thereof, states: “The Legislature shall provide, by general law, for a thorough and efficient system of free schools.” Furthermore, section two, article twelve of said Constitution states: “The general supervision of the free schools of the state shall be vested in the West Virginia Board of Education which shall perform such duties as may be prescribed by law.” (Emphasis added). Therefore, because the Legislature is empowered to identify “such duties as may be prescribed by law” to the West Virginia Board of Education, it is clearly within the Legislature’s purview to specify appropriate academic standards that will provide for a thorough education.
  • Effective July 1, 2017 the West Virginia State Board of Education is prohibited from implementing the Common Core State Standards.
  • The bill then directs the Board to adopt and implement the Mathematics Content Standards for California Public Schools, adopted by the California State Board of Education in December, 1997, and the Mathematics Framework for California Public Schools, adopted by the California State Board of Education in March, 2005, to replace their previous math standards.
  • They also direct the Board to adopt and implement the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, implemented by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education as the mandatory curriculum frameworks for English Language Arts in the year 2001, and any associated educational frameworks or supplementation.
  • They also add that any English Language Arts standard related to authors or literary works from the state of Massachusetts may be substituted with appropriate authors or literary works from the State of West Virginia.
  • These standards will remain in place for five years.
  • Then the Board is directed to withdraw from the Memorandum of Agreement it entered with the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers due to their adoption of the Common Core State Standards.
  • The bill also directs the Board to withdraw from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (which is already being done).
  • The bill then states that Smarter Balanced or any other assessment based on Common Core is prohibited after July 1, 2017.
  • It creates an assessment development committee to develop a replacement assessment.

You can read the entire bill here.

I am surprised it didn’t address the Next Generation Science Standards that the board adopted. I didn’t see any other bill in West Virginia that addressed it.

I really like this bill. It appears straightforward, let’s hope it moves forward and isn’t amended to death as that has been done before in West Virginia. They need a real repeal and to replace Common Core with quality standards. If there  is an amendment I hope it is intended to address the Next Generation Science Standards.

Right now this bill has been referred to the House Education and Finance committees.

(2nd Update) 2017 Legislation on Standards, Assessments, and Data Privacy

States with relevant legislation.

Updated on 2/21/17 – see Kentucky and West Virginia.

A couple years ago I published a list of active bills in various statehouses related to Common Core and its aligned assessments. Over the two years I just included a tag for a particular year’s bills so people could click on that to check on the bills that we had written on. Needless to say we didn’t keep up very well so I’m bringing this back.

This is a list that I will update of filed legislation in state houses across the United States dealing with academic standards, local control, assessments and data privacy. My intention is just to give a bill number, a link to the bill, and a brief description of the bill and the last action on the bill. Inclusion on this list does not mean we support the particular bill, but only that our readers in each state should be aware of it, read it, and decide whether they should support or oppose it.  I plan to keep this list as updated as possible. Individual write-ups on different bills can be found at “2017 Bills.” If I missed a bill just shoot me an email with the bill number at info@truthinamericaneducation.com.

Arizona

SB1314 – A bill that seeks to tighten student data privacy. Last action: Passed out of Senate Education Committee.

Connecticut

HB06839 – An Act Concerning A Review And Report On The Implementation Of The Student Data Privacy Act. Last action: Referred to the Joint Committee on Education.

HB06769 – To amend the student data privacy act of 2016. Last action: Referred to Joint Committee on Education.

There are several identical bills related to allowing a one year delay in the implementation of the Student Data Privacy Act of 2016. Here is one example.

Florida

S 0584 – Authorizing certain students to be eligible for an alternative pathway to a standard high school diploma; requiring a school district to establish an Alternative Pathway to Graduation Review Committee for certain students; requiring each district school board to ensure certain instruction, to waive certain assessment results, and to administer a hard copy of the grade 10 ELA assessment or the statewide, standardized Algebra I EOC assessment for certain students, etc. Last action: Filed.

Indiana

SB 0536 – Replaces the ISTEP test program with an assessment program using the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills or the Iowa Tests of Educational Development, as appropriate for the grade level being tested. Repeals a statute establishing the ISTEP program citizens’ review committee. Repeals a provision defining the ISTEP program. Repeals an expiration provision. Makes conforming amendments. Last action: Assigned to Senate Rules and Legislative Procedures Committee.

HB1003 – Replaces the ISTEP test program after June 30, 2018, with a new statewide assessment program to be known as Indiana’s Learning Evaluation Assessment Readiness Network (ILEARN). Repeals a provision defining the ISTEP program. Makes conforming amendments. Last action: Referred to the House Committee on Education.

Illinois

HB0332 – Amends the School Code to add provisions concerning student data privacy. Amends the Illinois School Student Records Act. Makes changes to the definition provisions. Sets forth provisions allowing disclosure of student records to researchers at an accredited post-secondary educational institution or an organization conducting research if specified requirements are met. Amends the Children’s Privacy Protection and Parental Empowerment Act to change the definition of “child” to mean a person under the age of 18 (instead of 16). Last action: Referred to the House Judiciary-Civil Committee.

Iowa

HJR 3 – A constitutional amendment that proposes “to provide home rule powers and authority for school districts.” Last action: Introduced into the House Education Committee (My write-up)

HF 26 – The bill authorizes a school board to exercise any broad or implied power, not inconsistent with the laws of the general assembly, related to the operation, control, and supervision of the public schools located within its district boundaries. Last action: Assigned a subcommittee. (My write-up)

SF 30 – This bill eliminates references and requirements to the Iowa Common Core or core curriculum or core content standards in the Iowa Code, but continues to direct the state board of education to adopt high school graduation requirements and assessment standards. It also creates a new task force for the development of a new assessment. Last action: assigned to subcommittee. (My write-up)

HF 139 – Requires any statewide assessment to be developed by the Iowa Testing Programs (ITP) at the University of Iowa. It would prohibit the use of Smarter Balanced or PARCC as a statewide, mandatory assessment. Last action: assigned to subcommittee. (My write-up)

HF 140 – Makes the Common Core math and English language arts (ELA) standards that have been adopted into the Iowa Core voluntary for Iowa’s public and state accredited non-public schools. Repeals Next Generation Science Standards. Last action: introduced into the House Education Committee. (My write-up)

SSB 1001 – Repeals the requirement for the State Board of Education to adopt rules requiring a statewide assessment starting in July 1, 2017 that is aligned to the Iowa Common Core Standards. Last action: Before Senate Education Committee.

Kentucky

SB 1 – This bill would establish new learning standards and evaluation procedures for schools and teachers. Last action: Passed Kentucky Senate 35-0 (see write-up).

Maine

LD412 – An Act To Require the Completion of Courses of Study in Home Economics and Industrial Arts Education Prior to Graduation from High School. Last action: N/A

LD 322 – An Act To Reintroduce Civics to High School Graduation Requirements. Last action: Passed House, referred to Senate Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs.

LD49 – Requires the adoption and implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards. Last action: Passed by the House, being considered by the Senate.

Maryland

HB 705 – Authorizing a parent or guardian of a child with a disability who is nonverbal to refuse to allow the child to participate in a Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment or its equivalent in a public school; and requiring that the refusal be documented in the Individualized Education Program of the child. Last action: Assigned to the House Ways and Means Committee.

HB 461 – Requiring the State Board of Education to adopt regulations limiting the amount of time in the aggregate that may be devoted to federal, State, and locally mandated assessments for each grade to 2% of the specified minimum required annual instructional hours; prohibiting time devoted to teacher-selected classroom quizzes and exams, portfolio reviews, or performance assessments from being counted toward the specified testing time limits; etc. Last action: Assigned to House Ways and Means Committee.

Michigan

HB 4192 – Education; curriculum; implementation of certain curriculum standards and assessments in place of common core curriculum standards and assessments in this state; require. Amends 1976 PA 451 (MCL 380.1 – 380.1852) by adding secs. 1278e & 1278f. Last action: Referred to the House Michigan Competitiveness Committee and will have a hearing on 2/15/17.

SB 0081 – Education; curriculum; implementation of certain curriculum standards and assessments in place of common core curriculum standards and assessments in this state; require. Amends sec. 1278 of 1976 PA 451 (MCL 380.1278) & adds secs. 1278e, 1278f & 1278. Last action: Before Senate Government Operations Committee.

Mississippi 

HB502 – An Act To Prohibit The State Board Of Education From Making Application To The United States Department Of Education Seeking A Waiver Or Request For Funding That Would Require A Revision Of The State Subject Matter Curriculum Aligned With The K-12 Common Core State Standards Developed By The Common Core State Standards Initiative; To Authorize The Board To Request Authority From The United States Department Of Education To Revise Curriculum Requirements That Condition Receipt Of Funding Or Waivers Upon The Board’s Action To Revise The Curriculum To Align With The K-12 Common Core State Standards; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee

SB2035 – An Act To Provide That Beginning With The 2017-2018 School Year The State Board Of Education Shall Replace The Common Core State Standards With The Ela Standards In Place In Several States; To Provide That The State Of Mississippi Shall Retain Sole Control Over The Development, Establishment And Revision Of Curriculum Standards; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee.

SB2593 – An Act To Provide That Beginning With The 2017-2018 School Year The State Board Of Education Shall Replace The Common Core State Standards With The Ela Standards In Place In Several States; To Provide That The State Of Mississippi Shall Retain Sole Control Over The Development, Establishment And Revision Of Curriculum Standards; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee.

HB357 – An Act To Provide For The Repeal Of The Common Core State Standards Curriculum Adopted By The State Board Of Education And To Prohibit Any Further Implementation Or Use Of Such Standards; To Restrict The Use Of The Partnership For Assessment Of Readiness For College And Careers (parcc), Or Any Other Assessment Related To Or Based On The Common Core State Standards, As The Required Assessment Required Under The Statewide Testing Program; To Require The State Superintendent Of Public Education And The State Board Of Education To Initiate Procedures To Withdraw From The Parcc Consortium; To Provide That The State Of Mississippi Shall Retain Sole Control Over The Development, Establishment And Revision Of Curriculum And Academic Content Standards; To Provide That No Curriculum Standards Developed Outside The State Of Mississippi May Be Adopted Or Implemented Without Public Hearings Held In Each Congressional District, A One-year Open Comment Period And Open Hearings Before A Joint Committee Composed Of The House And Senate Education Committees, Followed By An Act Of The Legislature; To Impose Restrictions Upon The State Department Of Education With Regards To The Expenditure Of Certain Funds And Disclosing Personally Identifiable Information Pertaining To Students And Teachers; To Amend Section 37-1-3, Mississippi Code Of 1972, In Conformity Thereto; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee.

SB2581 – An Act To Authorize And Direct Public School Districts To Allow Parents And Legal Guardians Of Enrolled Students To Opt Out Of Common Core Aligned Curricula, Certain Student Data And The Release Of Information Concerning Their Children’s Personal Beliefs; To Prescribe A Form For The Student Privacy Protection Opt-out Request By The Parent Or Legal Guardian; To Direct The State Board Of Education To Issue Regulations Consistent With The Student Data Confidentiality Provisions Of This Act; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee.

HB279 – An Act To Prohibit The State Board Of Education And The State Department Of Education From Taking Any Further Action To Implement The Common Core And Mississippi College And Career Readiness Standards; To Require The State Board Of Education To Adhere To Pre-existing Procedures Under Its Apa To Review And Revise Our Curriculum Standards As Applicable Within Our Board Policies Beginning With Mathematics And English In 2017; To Prohibit The State Board And State Department Of Education From Expending Certain Federal Funds To Track Students Beyond Their K-12 Education And To Distribute Certain Student Identifiable Information; To Amend Section 37-17-6, Mississippi Code Of 1972, To Delete References To Common Core And To Delete The Requirement That The State Department Of Education Form A Single Accountability System By Combining The State System With The Federal System; To Bring Forward Section 37-177-5, Mississippi Code Of 1972, For The Purpose Of Possible Amendments; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee.

HB601 – An Act To Create New Section 37-16-2, Mississippi Code Of 1972, To Require The State Board Of Education To Contract With A Single Entity For The Development And Administration Of The Act Aspire Assessment Components As The Comprehensive Statewide Assessment Program For Public School Students In Grades 3-10 As Well As Algebra I And English Ii, Which Is Aligned To The Mississippi College And Career-ready Standards; To Require The State Department Of Education To Provide A Job Skills Assessment System That Allows Students To Earn A Nationally Recognized Career Readiness Certificate Credentialing Workplace Employability Skills; To Require The Act Aspire As The Statewide Assessment Program To Be Fully Implemented In All Public Schools In The 2017-2018 School Year; To Amend Sections 37-16-1, 37-16-3, 37-16-4, 37-16-5, 37-16-7, 37-16-9 And 37-16-17, Mississippi Code Of 1972, Which Relate To The Statewide Testing Program, And Sections 37-3-49, 37-15-38, 37-17-6, 37-18-1, 37-18-3, 37-20-5, 37-20-7 And 37-28-45, Mississippi Code Of 1972, In Conformity To The Preceding Provisions Of This Act; To Prohibit The State Board Of Education From Contracting With Any Entity For The Development Of A Statewide Assessment Whose Alignment Of Curriculum And Testing Standards Are In Compliance With The Partnership For Assessment Of Readiness For College And Careers (parcc) Without Express Legislative Authority; To Amend Section 37-16-11, Mississippi Code Of 1972, To Provide For The Issuance Of A Standard Diploma To Certain Exceptional Children With Intellectual Impairments Who Have Ieps Upon Meeting The Educational Requirements Of Their Iep And Those Established By The State Board Of Education; And For Related Purposes. Last action: Died in committee.

There are additional bills, some are repetitive, they have all been killed in committee.

New Hampshire

SB 44 – Prohibiting the state from requiring implementation of common core standards. Last action: Before Senate Education Committee.

HB 207 – Prohibiting the implementation of common core in public elementary and secondary schools. Last action: Hearing scheduled for 2/14/17.

New Jersey

A2650 – Requires high school students to be assessed using college placement cut scores to determine readiness for college-level course work, and Commissioner of Education to develop plan to improve college and career counseling for students. Last action: To Assembly Higher Education Committee.

A10121 – Requires school districts and charter schools to annually provide to parents or guardians of enrolled students information on certain tests to be administered during the school year. Last action: Referred to Assembly Education Committee.

New Mexico

HB211 – Requires the adoption and implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards. Last Action: Referred to House Education Committee.

New York

A03702/S03912 – Requires disclosure of testing items in Common Core tests given in New York (50% after the first year the test is given, full disclosure after the second year.) Last action: Assigned to the Assembly Education Committee.

A01098 – Establishes the common core state standards evaluation task force for the purpose of studying the implementation of the common core state standards; requires such task force report to the Governor and Legislature. Last action: Referred to the Assembly Education Committee.

A01719 – Relates to teacher evaluations and implementation of the common core learning standards. Last action: Assigned to Assembly Education Committee.

S02091 – Enacts the common core parental refusal act. Last action: Assigned to Senate Education Committee.

A03644 – Relates to creating the commission on exceptional standards for New York state. Last action: Assigned to Assembly Education Committee.

A03623 – Relates to the common core state standards initiative. Last action: Referred to Assembly Education Committee.

S01942 – Allows parents, legal guardians or school districts to opt children with an individualized education program out of the “common core standards” and certain testing. Last action: Referred to Senate Education Committee.

A02312 – Relates to establishing the standardized testing transparency act; makes an appropriation therefor. Last action: Referred to the Assembly Education Committee.

North Dakota

HB 1432 – Repeals Common Core. Last action: Reported back, do not pass, placed on calendar (My write-up on the bill is here)

Oregon

HB2368 – Prohibits Department of Education from requiring school districts to align instruction or assessments with common core state standards and from penalizing school districts for failure to align instruction or assessments with common core state standards. Declares emergency, effective July 1, 2017. Last action: Referred to the House Education Committee.

HB2587 – Modifies state educational goals to take into consideration students’ aspirations, to provide students with well-rounded education and to provide students with sufficient instructional time to meet students’ educational goals. Expands state’s mission of education beyond high school. Last action: Referred to the House Education Committee.

HB 2229 – Requires school districts to offer instruction in financial literacy. Directs school districts and public charter schools to offer sufficient instruction in financial literacy to ensure that every student who elects to receive instruction in financial literacy is able to receive instruction. Takes effect July 1, 2018. Last action: Referred to the House Education Committee.

South Dakota

SB 126 – This bill requires the South Dakota Department of Education to use a competitive bidding process when acquiring academic assessments.

Texas

SB 605 – Allows public review and removal of Common Core-aligned curriculum. Last action: Filed.

HB 1069 – Relating to compliance with prohibitions regarding the use of common core state standards in public schools. Last action: Filed.

Washington

HB1012 – Eliminating the use of the high school science assessment as a graduation prerequisite. Last action: Referred to the House Education Committee.

HB 1046 – Eliminates requirement to pass state assessments to graduate. Allows multiple options. Last action: Referred to the House Appropriations Committee.

HB 1415 – To simplify existing state assessment requirements and administer the ACT test as the statewide high school assessment for reading or language arts, mathematics, and science; and (2) For the administration of the ACT test to be for federal accountability purposes and does not intend for the ACT test to be used in determining whether a student is eligible to graduate from high school. Last action: Referred to the House Education Committee.

HB1793 – Increasing academic rigor and streamlining assessment requirements for high school students. (This bill entrenches Smarter Balanced in Washington.) Last action: Referred to the House Education Committee.

SB 5202/HB 1572 – Directs OSPI to seek approval of using SAT or ACT in place of the SBAC assessments. If approved by the feds, the ELA/Math and Science portions of the national tests can be used in place for graduation purposes. SBE sets the cutoff score for passing. Last action: Referred to each chamber’s education committee.

SB5673/HB1886 – Moves the responsiblity for setting standards and assessments from the Washington State Board of Education to the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Last action: Referred to each chamber’s education committee.

West Virginia

HB 2144 – A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §18-1A-1, §18-1A-2, §18-1A-3, §18-1A-4 and §18-1A-5, all relating to academic content standards in public schools; discontinuing and prohibiting the use of Common Core academic content standards; adopting alternative academic content standards; discontinuing the use of Common Core based assessments; establishing a committee and process for developing alternate statewide assessments of student progress; prohibiting the state board or any public school from sharing student data without parental consent; and prohibiting acceptance of federal funding if such funding is conditioned upon sharing student data without parental consent. Last action: Referred to the House of Delegate’s Education and Finance Committees.

SB 18 – This would change West Virginia’s assessment from Smarter Balanced to ACT (for 11th graders) and ACT Aspire (for 3rd-8th graders). Last action: Referred to the Senate Education and Finance committees.

HB 2443 – This bill repeals Common Core and replaces it with the 2001 Massachusetts ELA Standards and the 2005 California math standards. Last action: Referred to the House Education and Finance Committees

Wyoming

HB0008 – AN ACT relating to education; amending requirements of state data security plan to ensure privacy of student data collected; requiring policies for the collection, access, privacy, security and use of student data by school districts; accordingly requiring school districts to adopt and enforce policies for the collection, access, privacy, security and use of student data; and providing for an effective date. Last action: Passed House, referred to Senate Education Committee

West Virginia’s State School Chief Will Resign at End of School Year

michael-martirano

West Virginia State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Michael Martirano, announced Tuesday that he will resign his position on June 30, 2017.

He wants to move closer to his family in Maryland, a press release from the West Virginia Department of Education announced.  His wife passed away earlier this year.

“After much consideration and heartfelt discussion with my family, I have decided to resign my position as the State Superintendent of West Virginia,” Martirano said. “The past two years have been the most rewarding of my career and I could not be more proud of the work we’ve accomplished on behalf of our young people. Unfortunately, I have been challenged with personal family matters outside of my control and it is necessary for me to move closer to my family and my children and seek employment opportunities near them. It has been a pleasure and privilege to serve as West Virginia’s Superintendent and I would like to thank our State Board for being my partner in education and for their confidence and support.”

“It is with a heavy heart that I accept Dr. Martirano’s resignation,” said State Board of Education President Mike Green. “Dr. Martirano has done an outstanding job as our State Superintendent, has had positive impact on the state’s educational system and has mapped out a clear path for continuous improvement. Under his leadership, we have codified our College and Career Readiness Standards, we finally have a consistent and continuous assessment and accountability system plus our students have shown gains in proficiency on assessments.”

Martriano has been a roadblock to good Common Core repeal legislation and instead led a rebranding of the standards.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports:

Much of the public education debate during his tenure has been focused on Common Core education standards and the Smarter Balanced end-of-year standardized testing, as well as the Legislature’s efforts to dump both of them.

Last school year, his department led a special review of the state’s Common Core standards that didn’t result in many changes, although Martirano still argues that the state’s standards no longer are based on the Common Core national standards blueprint. In that “Academic Spotlight” review of the standards, more than 90 percent of the more than 240,000 online comments from more than 5,000 individuals supported the standards, and although the website accepted comments from anyone over 18, self-identified West Virginia K-12 teachers were responsible for 91 percent of the comments.

Mountain State lawmakers, while highly critical of the Common Core standards, which also have been controversial in other states, offered few specifics about exactly why they dislike the standards.

In another review Martirano initiated that hasn’t led to much change, a majority of members of the Commission on Assessment he formed favored moving away from Smarter Balanced, but Martirano, who originally tried to keep the public out of the commission’s meetings before reversing course, never released official “final recommendations” from the group, and the state will continue using Smarter Balanced this school year.

A Case of Assessment Season Opt Out Bullying

bullying hurtsMost parents requesting to opt out would be shook up and intimidated if they received the following letter and form. It likely would affect their judgment to the point they wouldn’t check facts for themselves.

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In this case, the parents let the school know their child was not to take the state assessment. The school informed the parents they would send a paper home with the child letting them know what activities the child could be doing during the testing time. Sounds okay so far. The paper that was sent home was the letter and form featured above. Not okay. While this took place in W. Virginia, similar things have taken place in other school districts in other states.

Let’s examine the letter and what it says. The letter refers to W.Va. Code 18-2E-5. The entire code is here:
http://www.legis.state.wv.us/wvcode/ChapterEntire.cfm?chap=18&art=2E

I do not see anything in W.Va. Code 18-2E-5 that addresses opting out or refusal, either allowing or prohibiting it. This Deputy Superintendent needs to held accountable and asked to show where in the code it requires every student to be assessed or does not allow for opt out or refusal. Please do not take my word on this—-read this section of code for yourself and see what you think. The letter does quote a State Superintendent’s Update, March 25, 2016 saying, “There is no exception allowing parents and students to refuse to participate in the statewide assessment.” This apparently is an interpretation provided in the Update. This is not stated in the Code. From reading the actual Code, I would agree with this interpretation. It is incomplete. In the Code, there is nothing prohibiting parents and students from refusing to participate in the statewide assessment. This is either not in the Update or was selectively left out of this letter. My hunch is that it was not in the Update at all.

“There is no exception allowing parents and students to refuse to participate in the statewide assessment (General Summative Assessment) program.”   This is stated to make parents think it is not legal to opt out or refuse the assessment. The letter goes on to say, “Though there is no right to opt-out of our statewide summative assessment…”. Again, this is stated to lead one to believe it is not legal to opt out or refuse the assessment. The code has no provision for opting out or refusing, but as important, it does not prohibit opting out or refusing.

18-2E-5(3). I would use this clause as the foundation to ask how the Interim Assessment Block (IAB) results will be used “to determine when school improvement is needed”. Will enough students be taking the IAB to be able to actually use the results in a meaningful way to determine anything?

The letter also indicates the WVDE “has given the county board the authority to create a plan for students who refuse to participate in the assessment”. Someone should ask for the documentation of such authority being granted. These people should be held accountable—the WVDE, the county board, and the Deputy Superintendent. The board should be asked to provide a written copy of the plan they were supposedly authorized to create. The IAB needs to be questioned as to what makes it a meaningful, alternate academic assignment. Does meaningful mean “commensurate to the amount of rigor and time as a student that would be engaged in the General Summative Assessment (GSA)”?

Reading a book might be a meaningful, alternate academic assignment. Why the IAB? Who charged the county with the responsibility to have students that refuse to test to complete a meaningful, alternate academic assignment? Can they provide the charge in its original written form? Why can’t parents have a say in what they think is a meaningful, alternate assignment? The only say they are being offered is to choose from an online format or a paper pencil format. In other words, no say.

Neither the PARCC nor SBAC have been proven to be valid and reliable. Has WV’s state assessment been proven valid and reliable? (I think they are using SBAC, so the answer would be no). NCLB requires states to administer assessments that are valid and reliable. NCLB also requires states to administer a statewide assessment. It does not require all students to participate in the assessment.

If they were trying to use the IAB as a substitute for the state assessment, I would ask if the IAB has been proven to be a valid and reliable substitute for a state assessment that is not valid and reliable. In this case, they are not trying to use the IAB as a substitute for the state assessment. It sounds more like they are using it for punitive purposes. If they can’t control parents and students in the manner they want, they will impose something upon them that will be equally unpleasant or objectionable.

The letter also says the “results from the IAB tests would be used at the school level only to check student progress”. Sounds good but I think this is lame. A fifteen minute chat with the child’s teacher(s) should yield better information about the student’s progress.

What if parents just presented their opt out request in writing and left it at that? Presented with this letter and form, what if parents simply presented the request in writing that their child is not to take or be administered either the state assessment or the Interim Assessment Blocks? The form forces one to choose between two things, neither of which is a satisfactory choice for some parents. What if a parent crossed out the two printed choices and adds and selects a third choice which would read something like this: My child will not take and is not to be administered any state assessment or Interim Assessment Blocks online or in paper/pencil form.

The school officials, up and down the line, should be ashamed of the approach they are taking with parents and students. Are the state and local school officials completely to blame here? Probably not. Bullying begets bullying. Like the majority of the education reform movement, bullying has been a top down approach, with the top being at the level of our federal government. Reform measures have been top down and bullying is being used from the top down to impose those measures on down the line. I fail to see how this bullying and intimidation approach is going to serve well for our education system, school officials, communities, parents, and students.

stop bullying. seriously, just stop

Bullying graphics courtesy the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website at http://www.stopbullying.gov/image-gallery/.

 

No Surprise, West Virginia Senate to Consider Weaker Common Core Bill

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The West Virginia Senate Education Committee took up HB 4014 and made it weaker. It’s *just* like the House bill which I already had some concerns about the House version.

The Senate version:

  • Does not delay the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards.
  • It will throw the review of the science standards in with the review of the Common Core Math and ELA standards.
  • It does remove West Virginia from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.

It appears that it does keep the rest of the assessment language which includes:

  • Rescinds the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)  with the CCSSO and NGA
  • Prohibits the State Board of Ed  from adopting or using Common Core aligned tests
  • Orders the State Board of Ed to review their state summative testing scheme
  • Grants parents the ability to opt their child out of testing
  • Prohibits the ‘discipline, punishment, or grade reduction’ of any student who opts out
  • Testing can’t take more than 2% of a student’s yearly instruction time (HT: A.P. Dillon)

So there is a silver lining.

A Common Core Bill Passes West Virginia House

West Virginia State Capitol Building - Charleston, WV Photo credit: O Palsson (CC-By-2.0)

West Virginia State Capitol Building – Charleston, WV
Photo credit: O Palsson (CC-By-2.0)

The West Virginia House of Delegates passed HB 4014 on Friday by a 73 to 20 vote margin. As it is currently written the bill does a number of things (list courtesy of A.P. Dillion):

  • Puts off using the Next Generation Science Standards until 2017
  • Introduces digital learning
  • Creates an “Academic Standards Evaluation Panel”
  • Rescinds the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)  with the CCSSO and NGA
  • Withdraws West Virginia from the SBAC
  • Prohibits the State Board of Ed  from adopting or using Common Core aligned tests
  • Orders the State Board of Ed to review their state summative testing scheme
  • Grants parents the ability to opt their child out of testing
  • Prohibits the ‘discipline, punishment, or grade reduction’ of any student who opts out
  • Testing can’t take more than 2% of a student’s yearly instruction time

As with any bill the devil is in the details. What will the “Academic Standards Evaluation Panel” do? Dillion provided the description from the bill, the key section is below:

Using the West Virginia College – and – Career – Readiness Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics as a framework, review and revise the standards, including additions, deletions, and edits based upon empirical research and data to ensure grade-level alignment to the standards of states with a proven track record of consistent high-performing student achievement in English Language Arts on the National Assessment of Educational Progress and in Mathematics, on both the National Assessment of Educational Progress and Trends in Math and Science Study international Assessment.

Remove Common Core strategies that require instructional methods.

Where have we seen this before? In every state that offered a review and replace bill who ended up with a rebrand. Could West Virginia end up with better standards? Yes, but it’s not encouraging to see that the current standards – Common Core math and ELA standards will be the framework used as they “review and revise.”

I don’t want to bash the bill, knowing the players involved I think their intentions are noble, and if some good people land on the “Academic Standards Evaluation Panel” they could end up with better standards. There are also a number of other positive steps in this bill, especially related to assessments, that we can laud. Over all I would say this is a positive bill.

It heads to the West Virginia Senate whose leadership has been known to tank good Common Core bills, the last one was a straightforward repeal bill they gutted until it did nothing. The review process implemented by the State Board of Education has also been a joke. This bill at least requires the state to leave Smarter Balanced and break rescind the MOU they had with the NGA and CCSSO. Hopefully that language, and the assessment language, survives the West Virginia Senate.

Two More Smarter Balanced States Eye Making Changes

Photo credit: Bartmoni (CC-By-SA 3.0)

Photo credit: Bartmoni (CC-By-SA 3.0)

House Democrats in Delaware are calling for the state to stop requiring Smarter Balanced for high school juniors.  Delaware Public Media reports this week:

Ten legislators wrote a letter to Gov. Jack Markell last week, saying the SAT should be eleventh grade’s accountability exam, not Smarter Balanced.

Rep. Debra Heffernan (D-North Wilmington) was among those who signed that letter. She says too few juniors took Smarter Balanced last year — fewer than the 95 percent target at some schools.

Heffernan says that’s due in part to parent and student concerns over the test’s length and content. But she says it’s also because of the other college entrance exams, such as the SAT, ACT and AP tests, that juniors have to juggle.

“They have a big testing burden already,” Heffernan says. “And it would be a way to reduce their testing burden, but also to give us good data to be able to have educational accountability.”

Plus, she says the SAT is already required and aligned with Common Core standards, and takes half the time of Smarter Balanced.

I’d like to point out that I do not think this is an overall improvement other than it is one less assessment that juniors in Delaware would have to take. I think the new SAT is garbage, and will do nothing to break Common Core’s grip in the state. What we will see, however, is the further degrading of the argument that states are comparing apples to apples in terms of a common assessment.  I suspect we’ll see a bill drop when their legislature is in session, and I think it’s significant that Governor Markell is getting pushback from members of his own party.

In West Virginia they’re looking at ditching Smarter Balanced in favor of the ACT and ACT Aspire tests.  The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports:

Most members of the West Virginia Schools superintendent’s commission on testing want to move away from Smarter Balanced standardized exams, limit end-of-year testing in high school to only one grade and specifically explore using ACT tests as statewide assessments.

The recommendations came near the end of a nearly five-hour-long meeting that included commission members expressing worries about more students refusing to take tests this school year.

They also expressed concern about the state’s plan to give entire schools and counties A-F grades based largely on standardized tests.

The commission expressed complaints that Smarter Balanced, a Common Core-aligned math and English language arts test, isn’t an accurate gauge of student achievement, doesn’t give much reason for students to take it seriously and doesn’t provide information on what exactly students are struggling with.

Mountain State students had a 27 percent proficiency rate in math on Smarter Balanced last school year, the first year for the test statewide, and a 45 percent proficiency rate in English language arts.

“The No. 1 complaint I hear is a lack of prescriptive feedback,” said commission member Mickey Blackwell, executive director of the West Virginia Elementary/Middle Schools Principals Association. Fellow commission member Blaine Hess, superintendent of Jackson County Schools, noted that providing the ACT statewide would save families the cost of paying for the popular college entrance exam.

The commission — which has 26 members, although not all were present for the full meeting — is expected to meet a third and final time on Jan. 12. Final recommendations will be made to state Superintendent Michael Martirano, who will use them to advise the West Virginia Board of Education on whether to make any changes or not.

The ACT is not required by Mountain State schools, and West Virginia uses Smarter Balanced, instead of the ACT, to meet federal requirements to report test scores.

Read the rest.

Right now only Alabama and South Carolina use the ACT Aspire tests (which, yes are aligned to Common Core). There are 15 states that are still in Smarter Balanced with three affiliate members and it looks like they will continue to shrink.