CEA Director of Policy, Research, and Reform Donald Williams spoke to members of the legislature’s Education Committee during a public hearing.
“This bill is essentially a hostile takeover of Network Schools—it’s incredibly anti-democratic,” CEA Director of Policy, Research, and Reform Donald Williams told legislators yesterday, saying that CEA strongly opposes Senate Bill 5551.
While debate on a CEA proposed bill to undo the link between SBAC and teachers’ evaluations received the lion’s share of testimony at an Education Committee hearing, other issues important to the future of education in Connecticut—many of which focused on the rights of students, parents, teachers, and community members—were also discussed.
Williams said that SB 5551 would subvert elected boards of education, remove transparency, curtail responsiveness to the community, repeal collective bargaining, and create a czar—who may be a charter school vendor—to oversee Network Schools. “It is a top-down model that is designed to benefit those who want corporate control over our schools. It eliminates meaningful partnerships with parents, teachers, and administrators,” he said. Read more
CEA President Sheila Cohen and Executive Director Mark Waxenberg testified before the legislature’s Education Committee today.
“Nowhere in research does it say that the results of a single standardized test score measure the effectiveness of a teacher,” CEA President Sheila Cohen told legislators this evening.
Cohen and Executive Director Mark Waxenberg expressed teachers’ support for SB 380 An Act Concerning the Exclusion of Student Performance Results on the Mastery Examination from Teacher Evaluations to members of the legislature’s Education Committee at a public hearing. The CEA leaders presented a comprehensive report, including research from around the country, detailing why state legislators need to eliminate the link between teacher evaluations and SBAC that is scheduled to take effect in September.
“The primary purpose of teacher evaluation is to support teachers’ growth and development so that they in turn are better able to help their students succeed,” Cohen said. “Including SBAC scores in teachers’ evaluations in no way helps improve student learning. That is what the research clearly and indisputably shows. To ignore that is to ignore what is best for our public schools and the future of our state.” Read more
CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg described the problems with SBAC at a CEA news conference last year.
The State of Connecticut today took a very small step to cut back on student testing by eliminating the English Language Arts (ELA) performance task section of the SBAC exam. While this move reduces testing time for third through eighth graders by an hour to an hour and a half, it does nothing to address the underlying issues with SBAC repeatedly raised by CEA members and leaders.
CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg told CTNewsJunkie that getting rid of a portion of an unfair test doesn’t go far enough. Read the article here.
During the upcoming administration of the SBAC exam, the window for which begins March 15, only the computer adaptive portion of the ELA SBAC will be administered. Both the computer adaptive and performance task sections of the math portion of the SBAC will still be given. The state Department of Education announced that it had decided to eliminate the ELA performance task after an analysis found full alignment between both parts of the ELA SBAC exam—making the performance task redundant.
CEA Director of Policy, Research, and Reform Donald Williams at a meeting of the Mastery Examination Committee.
A new report on student testing is a step forward, according to Connecticut teachers, but much more investigation and research must be done before policymakers can assure students and parents that Connecticut’s approach to student testing is effective and non-discriminatory.
The Connecticut Mastery Examination Committee, empowered to investigate SBAC, delivered its interim report to the legislature today, before the required February 15 deadline.
“We are pleased that the committee summarized its work to date, examining the onerous testing issue that impacts our students and public education,” said CEA President Sheila Cohen. Read more
State lawmakers will be back in Hartford tomorrow for the start of the 2016 legislative session—and that brings opportunity for teachers to advocate for improvements to education policies that affect their students, their profession, and public education.
Tomorrow’s focus will be on the state budget as the governor gives his state of the state address and releases his budget plan. We will post information about the budget plan and how it affects students, teachers, and public education after it is released.
Over the next three months legislators will consider a range of issues. Teachers’ voices will be important in shaping the discussion and making sure that what’s best for students always stays front and center. Read more
Members of the state’s Mastery Examination Committee heard parent, teacher, and superintendent groups’ concerns about SBAC.
Groups representing Connecticut teachers, parents, and superintendents shared their concerns regarding the SBAC test with members of the Mastery Examination Committee today.
CEA, the Connecticut Parent Teacher Association (CT PTA), and the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) presented key survey findings including concerns with technology to the effects of overtesting and the time needed to administer and take the SBAC test.
Donald Williams, CEA director of Policy, Research, and Reform and a member of the Mastery Examination Committee, highlighted a survey of Connecticut teachers, as well as a survey of teachers from other states, outlining serious concerns and issues with the validity, reliability, and fairness of the SBAC test and the harm it is doing to children.
Teachers surveyed said the lengthy SBAC test is not developmentally appropriate or fair for students, especially those who are young, in special education or English-language learner programs, come from homes without regular computer access, or come from economically disadvantaged school districts. Read more
Teachers spoke out at a news conference today at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford calling for an end to harmful testing. At center is CEA President Sheila Cohen. From left are Juanita Harris, Bruce Yarnall, Ted Goerner, and Annie Irvine.
Indisputable evidence from the frontlines of teaching took center stage today at a CEA news conference in Hartford as teachers urged lawmakers to examine the needs of students and reject a test that is not valid, reliable, or fair.
While several teachers offered compelling testimony about their experience with SBAC at today’s news conference, their perspectives were bolstered by dozens of their colleagues who shared their stories with reporters via video.
The teachers appearing in the video were representative of the hundreds of teachers from all corners and all counties of the state who spoke about the SBAC test and its impact on students and schools in a CEA Listening Tour held last fall.
Watch the video below. Read more
The state’s Mastery Examination Committee met Monday to discuss feedback and reactions to SBAC.
The state’s Mastery Examination Committee heard about problems with SBAC from several education stakeholder groups Monday. The Connecticut State Department of Education, the Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS), and the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) presented results of surveys they conducted earlier this year on reactions and feedback to SBAC administration. The findings focused on everything from student anxiety and stress to technical issues and too much test prep. You can read survey results here.
Somewhat less than one hundred principals (largely from suburban districts)—responded to the CAS survey. Patrice McCarthy of CABE said her organization’s survey was limited in scope, but added that they have had many recent conversations with school board members.
Members of the committee agreed that the information presented can be regarded as anecdotal, not scientific in any way.
Donald Williams, CEA director of Policy, Research, and Reform, urged the committee to look hard for trends—that negatively or positively impact high-quality teaching and learning—in any information that is provided to the committee. CEA has gathered information from teachers across the state about the detrimental impact of SBAC on students and learning, and Williams and Windsor teacher Marcia Ferreira will present CEA’s findings at the next meeting of the committee on January 11, 2016. Read more
Scott Norton, strategic initiative director for Standards, Assessment and Accountability at the Council of Chief State School Officers, presented to the state’s Mastery Examination Committee yesterday.
Over-testing students is a real thing across the U.S., according to Scott Norton, strategic initiative director for Standards, Assessment and Accountability at the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), who discussed the purpose of state and local assessment programs at Tuesday’s meeting of the new state Mastery Examination Committee.
Norton called states “smart” that try to create inventories of all of the tests being administered to students.
While it was a project broader than just one, individual state, Norton shared with the committee news of the first comprehensive study ever undertaken to ascertain the true extent of mandatory testing in the nation’s schools. The study was conducted by the Council of Great City Schools and included data from 66 urban school districts across the U.S. Read more
Teachers have been calling attention to the problem of overtesting in public schools for years, and this weekend the Obama administration finally responded by releasing a plan to reduce testing, saying no more than two percent of classroom instruction time should be spent on tests.
In a fact sheet on the new Testing Action Plan the U.S. Department of Education states, “In too many schools, there is unnecessary testing and not enough clarity of purpose applied to the task of assessing students, consuming too much instructional time and creating undue stress for educators and students. The Administration bears some of the responsibility for this, and we are committed to being part of the solution.” Read more