Is it that time of year again?
You know, the time of year when the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) changes its mind on a major education issue and suddenly demands that state legislators reverse decisions that they were apart of making and supported.
Last year, it was the state’s teacher evaluation system – a system they helped develop and once applauded as “fair, reliable and valid.”
This year, according to Gregory Hladky at the Hartford Courant, the state’s largest teachers’ union is spending $250,000 on a two-week long TV ad campaign demanding the elimination of standardized tests.
Aside from the fact that the state has absolutely no control over that, since the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESA) requires annual standardized testing in grades 3 through 8 as well as one in high school, it’s mighty suspicious they would bring up testing a month before the full rollout of the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC).
Where was their public outcry in 2012 when they applauded and helped develop an evaluation system that counted 22.5 percent of a teacher’s evaluation on standardized tests?
That’s not the only reason this compete about-face is suspect.
You see, as reported by Linda Lambeck at Connecticut Post, the union successfully lobbied the governor last year and was able to delay using test scores in teacher evaluations another two years, until the 2016-17 school year.
Yes. You’ve guessed it! That’s the same school year CEA proposes that SBAC be fully eliminated.
Cleverly hidden in the CEA’s proposal is a suggestion that the state establish an examination board comprised of educators and experts. While that by itself is not unreasonable or even a terrible idea – what is questionable is the fact they want to give that examination board the power to change tests every other year:
“The board will annually review the efficacy of the test, and every other year vote as to whether to retain the test or select a different test.”
If you haven’t already figured out why this is nuts, let me explain.
If their proposal becomes law, the CEA could change the test every two years. That would mean there would be no baseline or reliable way to measure if students and schools were doing better or worse from year to year.
More importantly to them, you couldn’t reasonably evaluate a teacher’s performance on test scores if there was no baseline. Which is exactly their aim.
This isn’t about what’s best for children, like their TV ad would suggest. This is about reducing accountability for the union and its members.
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