Fighting to Restore Local Control to Colorado Schools
The Following is a bill written by Colorado State Assembly D-55 Representative, Ray Scott (R) of Grand Junction, which seeks legislative redress to the regulations and impositions of compulsory state and federal school assessments.
Intent of Bill: School districts would be accountable for student achievement through a combination of certain state-mandated assessments providing comparability, and a local assessment system meeting or exceeding the rigor and quality standards that the state uses to select its assessments. School districts would be allowed to adopt streamlined testing methods and procedures that exceed minimum state requirements while ensuring accountability expectations and continued comparability are met through a State Board waiver approval process.
The Problem: The burden of the state testing demands are forcing an “unbalanced” assessment system, due to excessive testing time factors, over-use of technology for testing and over-representation of lower level skills. Under current state assessment requirements, elementary schools will spend 32 days in assessment of students, middle schools will spend 38 days, and high schools will spend 23 days. While individual students will not spend all of that time in assessment, school resources will be spent in assessment, and not instruction during these testing windows. School Districts are forced to choose between spending time and resources on the State assessments measuring lower level skills and knowledge, versus more rigorous assessments measuring higher order thinking and skills.
A growing number of parents are refusing to submit their students to the volume of testing mandated by the State. Currently, parents exercising their right to control the education of their children in this way jeopardizes the accreditation of the schools and the districts.
The Solution: A high quality, rigorous assessment system should the primary focus of assessment practices. Uniformity for uniformity’s sake should not trump a school district’s goal of exceeding minimum state standards.
Balanced Assessment includes the following assessment practices that provide rigorous authentic performance expectations and produce meaningful, timely, descriptive results:
The majority of these assessments occur at the classroom level, with common assessments at the school level and state mandated assessments at the district level.
Teachers employ a wide variety of strategies to assess student learning in meaningful ways and help build an informative student body of evidence.
Accountability: The school district would direct the selection and administration of the balanced assessment system within its schools. All assessments with the balanced assessment system would meet the following requirements:
The school district would annually administer the state PARCC performance assessments in select grades (3,8,10), as well as Colorado ACT, providing continued accountability and statewide comparability.
To address the parent refusal issue, the bill would provide that parents refusing to submit their children to standardized assessments will not have a negative impact on the student, teacher, or the accreditation status of the schools or district.
To be presented to the Colorado House Education Committee on Monday, February 17. If you are interested in helping to restore local control to schools in Colorado, please call or email the following legislators:
Millie Hamner (Chair) Education Committee 303-866-2952 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cherylin Peniston 303-866-2843 E-Mail: email@example.com
John Buckner 303-866-2944 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lois Court 303-866-2967 E-Mail: email@example.com
Justin Everett 303-866-2927 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rhonda Fields 303-866-3911 E-Mail: email@example.com
Chris Holbert 303-866-2933 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Frank McNulty 303-866-2936
Carole Murray 303-866-2948 E-Mail: email@example.com
Brittany Pettersen 303-866-2939 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Priola 303-866-2912 E-Mail: email@example.com
Jim Wilson 303-866-2747 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dave Young 303-866-2929 E-Mail: email@example.com