October 31, 2013
The Education Trust-West – a statewide educational policy, research, and advocacy organization that works for the high academic achievement of all students at all levels – spoke out in support of the Obama Administration’s efforts to protect the rights of students, parents and educators in the following article, “National and State Organizations Respond to Elimination of Public Transparency on Student Academic Performance by CA Leaders.”
As national and state organizations advocating on behalf of parents, teachers, students and communities, we believe that California’s leaders are violating the rights of parents and educators to receive critical information on the academic progress of more than four million students. Governor Brown’s signing of Assembly Bill 484 into law represents a dramatic step backward in public transparency for student academic results. It is also a clear violation of important federal protections for our most vulnerable student populations, including our state’s approximately 1.3 million English Learners and 650,000 students with disabilities. We believe that the Obama administration’s response to AB 484 is an important first step in protecting the rights of students and parents.
As a result of AB 484, parents, students and educators will not receive any objective information on their children’s grade-level performance in English Language Arts and Mathematics for an indeterminate length of time. Parents and teachers of English Learners and students with disabilities will lose vital information necessary to assess English proficiency and progress in the general education curriculum. Teachers will lose critical information on student academic progress in transition grades such as third grade. Furthermore, AB 484 jeopardizes the ability of parents to ensure that their children have access to the fundamental right of a basic education and equitable opportunity to learn guaranteed by the California Constitution.
It is especially unfortunate that state leaders are portraying their decision to suspend public transparency on student outcomes as a way to transition to the Common Core State Standards and assessments. While their decision to expand the use of the new Common Core aligned Smarter Balanced assessments into all schools has merit, we are deeply concerned by their failure to fund the full cost of these assessments or provide any results to educators and parents. In fact, under the AB 484 plan, hundreds of thousands of tests will never be scored. Students should not spend hours of their time taking tests for no reason. Educators should get the results of any assessment that their students take. Parents should know how their children performed on tests purchased with their tax dollars. Districts and schools should know how well they are performing in implementing the Common Core State Standards and assessments. And the public has a right to know how well their schools and districts performed in implementing a new testing system funded by public dollars.
To read the full article, go here.