Parents are the ones who want to see the grades of their children and their schools, but schools aren’t always so happy to provide them. School districts are forced to show the grades because of the “No Child Left Behind Act” of 2001. If you talk to many people in the school district, you will find they despise this act because it forces them to share their student grades. As a matter of fact, most of Washington state educators feels the same way.
Obama created the “Race to the Top” program in 2009 which was designed to help improve education K-12 by throwing money at the schools. This program had stipulations, however, in that schools had to have teacher evaluations based in part on student standardized testing. You can read about the “Race to the Top” here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_to_the_Top
I only plan to focus on teacher evaluations based on student standardized testing because my focus in this post is on student grades. In Washington state, the teachers union fought hard against being evaluated based on student test scores. They didn’t think it was fair to have the test scores for students they teach to be a part of their evaluation.
The feds would provide a waiver of the No Child Left Behind act to states that would comply with Race to the Top requirements, but because the Washington state teachers union felt so strongly against this one aspect of the Race to the Top, the Washington politicians caved to the teachers and voted down a Senate Bill 5246 which would have complied with federal regulations. You can read about that here: http://www.theolympian.com/2014/02/27/3006737_democrats-bet-wrong-in-gamble.html?rh=1
Once Washington refused to do teacher evaluations based on student standardized test scores, they lost the funding from Race to the Top and were reverted back to the No Child Left Behind law.
Washington Becomes First State To Return To No Child Left Behind
“Washington’s request … [for a waiver] was approved based on Washington’s commitments to carry out certain actions in support of key education reforms … Washington was not able to keep all of its commitments,” Duncan wrote in a letter sent Thursday to Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn. “Washington’s flexibility will end with the 2013-2014 school year.”
No Child Left Behind is the George W. Bush law that mandates standardized testing for students in reading and math, and spelled out consequences, such as school restructuring, based on those scores. Under NCLB, persistently failing schools had to set aside 20 percent of a funding stream to pay for tutoring. But with a waiver from the federal government, that money could be used for other purposes.
Thursday’s move will make Washington subject again to the law’s broad sanctions. Instead of using the federal government’s more nuanced system for identifying underperforming schools, the state will have to use the NCLB accountability system called “Adequate Yearly Progress,” a blunt measure based on standardized test scores. According to NCLB, to make AYP in 2014, all students are expected to be proficient in English and math — meaning that next year, it’s possible that every school in the state could be labeled as underperforming.
In addition to returning to the cruder NCLB system, Washington districts will likely lose the freedom to spend $38 million to $44 million previously set aside for mandatory tutoring. That loss is likely to make it harder to budget for the next school year.
It could be because the Colville school district dislikes showing their student grades, or they just hate the No Child Left Behind law so much that they have applied to have the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 reinstated in our schools. You can read about it here:
Or you can find it in the September 24, 2014 school board meeting agenda item number 5.04 on Board Docs: http://www.boarddocs.com/wa/colsd/Board.nsf/public#
Seriously? Is going back to a 1965 law an attempt to hide student grades from the public? No matter what the reasoning, I find this odd behavior. So in the interest of letting parents know the grades of our students, I have typed them up from the OSPI website (Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction) and have listed them below:
If you’d like the see the grades on the OSPI website, you can find them here http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us/summary.aspx?groupLevel=District&schoolId=248&reportLevel=District&year=2013-14
I would like to point out that at the top of the OSPI grades for 2013-14 is this notice:
Note: This school/district participated in the Smarter Balanced Field Test in 2013-2014. Any data shown for 2013-14 in reading, writing, and math in grades 3-8 only reflect students tested on the MSP. At a district level, the data reported here may reflect results for only some of the schools in the district rather than the entire district.
Last year the Colville School District participated in the Common Core “Smarter Balanced Field Test”. In the school board meetings, the parents argued that it was too much for the students to take two tests. The school board never did explain that if they participate in this test, then they don’t have to post their grades for the 2013-14 school year. Why didn’t they share this information with the public?
I have to ask the question, if our district is so proud of their programs, why do they seem to be working so hard to hide their grades?
One more thing, take a look at the grades before the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act because these grades clearly show the results of schools that do not have to answer to parents.
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