COMMON CORE & SBAC/PARCC & WHAT LEADERS SHOULD BE PREPARING FOR (IT’S NOT ONLY ABOUT IMPLEMENTATION)
Updated: Mar 23, 2018
Most leaders are obsessed with CCSS implementation when they should be preparing for the rising wave of dissent over a number of less publicized issues related to the SBAC that are being championed by heavyweights like Diane Ravitch.
On March 10, 2015, Ravitch blogged, "Vermont is not only a beautiful state, but it is a wonderful state when it comes to education. Early on, Vermont policymakers made clear that its educators would do what was right for children and would not be bullied by federal bureaucrats in Washington, D.C."
She was referring to people like Vermont's Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe, who cited Harvard Graduate School of Education Andrew Ho's (2008) work to support her concern that there is little empirical evidence related to the validity of the proposed cut scores for actually discriminating between students who are “college and career ready” and those who are not. Thirty-three (33) other State Superintendents of Instruction (including Holcombe but not California's SSPI) are concerned about privacy and wrote to the Honorable Arne Duncan to confirm that their states will not share any personally identifiable information about K–12 students with USED or any federal agency. Gary Orfield’s (UCLA) article in Educational Research, Tenth Annual Brown Lecture in Education Research: A New Civil Rights Agenda for American Education was also cited by Holcombe in her argument.
As a Practitioner-Researcher I am encouraged by the depth of the current narrative revolving around the Common Core State Standards and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) that assess them.
While the concerns expressed by Holcombe and others are not political in nature, there are some people who are concerned that our new high-stakes testing provides financial gain for testing corporations and their political sponsors, and will not be good for kids, particularly in economically and racially segregated schools. Forward thinking district leaders should be preparing for all of the above. No education leaders should be caught unprepared for the opt-out movement to sweep into California given the potential of digitally-active protest movements (see Twitter Evolutions: The Changing Role of Social Media in War and Protest). What is your district's plan if a parent or group of parents choose to opt out?
One more thing relative to CCSS/SBAC here in California: The California Department of Education voted unanimously a couple of weeks ago to approve the contract of Educational Testing Service (ETS). The decision was made on the condition the company duplicates the teacher-participation model proposed by Linda Darling-Hammond, who argued that involving teachers in scoring “performance tasks” would improve classroom instruction (Darling-Hammond supported Pearson’s testing program but they did not get the contract).
Speaking of politics, Pearson’s selection would have been controversial given all of the press about its relationship with members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and its undue influence on state lawmaking.
I caution my doctoral students at CSUF and my colleagues not to be myopic when it comes to accountability-related issues. What is out front can easily divert a leader's attention. It happens all of the time. Leaders have to be readers.