In an unusual occurrence, both a major teacher’s union and Cornerstone Policy Research, a conservative, non-partisan issues advocacy organization, have opposed the implementation of the Smarter Balanced Assessment, the statewide, Common Core national standards aligned, student test imposed by the NH Board of Education.
The Nashua Teachers Union sent a letter to the NH Department of Education and panned the test on a variety of issues in asking that the Nashua School District be allowed to use a different assessment. Teachers at the Fairgrounds Middle School recently took the test and had some interesting things to say about it, sending a letter through their principal asking the district to delay implementing the test. Superintendent Mark Conrad, as quoted in the Nashua Telegraph, declined their request saying a delay would be “counterproductive.”
Nashua school board member David Murotake, who is also a state rep., outlined the concerns raised by Nashua teachers who’d taken the test in testimony he gave on the matter of changing department rules to facilitate the test and conclude the alignment of the state’s schools to the Common Core national standards by the state board and department of education back in December.
Looks like the teachers in Nashua are trying to get someone to pay attention to their concerns!
Meanwhile, two days before the union wrote its letter, Cornerstone Policy Research Education Liaison Ann Marie Banfield raised similar concerns in support of HB 1432, legislation that would delay the implementation of the assessments. Banfield went a step or two further, though as she not only cited specific criticisms of the tests from national content experts, but also hit the use of student scores on them to assess the effectiveness of teachers. Banfield’s concern is that using the scores of a tragically flawed test will unfairly label good teachers as ineffective, requiring further involvement of state and federal authorities in the management of schools.