Dear New Hampshire State Senators:
Next week two important Bills will be coming to the floor of the senate for a vote. We encourage you to support HB603 and vote against the Senate Education Committee’s “Inexpedient to Legislate” recommendation. We also encourage you to vote against the Senate Education Committee recommendation on HB323 “Ought to Pass.”
Vote AGAINST the “Inexpedient to Legislate” Senate Education Committee recommendation on HB603
HB 603 declares that a student exempted from taking the statewide assessment by the student’s parent or legal guardian shall not be penalized. The bill also requires a school district to provide an appropriate alternative educational activity for the time period during which the assessment is administered..
It is important to put into state statute the rights of parents to exempt their children from the statewide assessment. The new Common Core assessment (Smarter Balanced Assessment) has been labeled as fatally flawed by math content experts. Licensed child psychologists have also warned that these assessments are developmentally inappropriate, especially for younger children. Cornerstone has called upon the New Hampshire Department of Education to halt the Smarter Balanced Assessment in our public schools given the serious allegations by experts in child development and academic content.
During the hearing on HB603, Sen. Stiles mentioned her concerns for losing federal funding if HB603 were to pass. However no one asked for any documentation or proof. Fairest.org has documented information that contradicts the claim that schools would lose funding. You can find that information here: http://www.fairtest.org/why-you-can-boycott-testing-without-fear.
Should parents be denied their fundamental rights based on threats or based on factual evidence?
We’ve had attorneys advise that it would help parents if HB603 were to pass. Many parents found themselves battling their school administrators to opt their children out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment this year. Some parents had to hire an attorney to finally get their school administrators to recognize their parental rights. HB603 would alleviate that problem for parents in New Hampshire.
HB603 is a good Bill that should be passed into law.
Vote AGAINST the “Ought to Pass” Senate Education Committee Recommendation on HB323:
HB323 as amended in the Senate makes changes to the type of statewide assessment that may be administered by a school district….
1) Gives the Department of Education a blank check to re-design our statewide assessment program without legislative checks and balances.
2) Enables Department to establish and control a PACE pilot program of weekly assessments in lieu of one end of year assessment. This doesn’t reduce testing.
3) The Department received its NCLB Waiver on March 5th after promising to transition all public schools over to its Regionally-implemented PACE program. All assessments are Regionally planned and scored under the Department’s control.
4) The PACE program requires all schools to “voluntarily” adopt Common Core
5) The PACE assessments are based on the same Common Core aligned Smarter Balanced protocols. However, there is no provision to allow parents to refuse these weekly assessments as they will used to demonstrate that the student does or does not meet various unauthorized State Graduation Competencies.
As the Education Liaison for Cornerstone, I’ve documented serious concerns regarding the Smarter Balanced Assessment by licensed Child Psychologists, Early Learning Specialists, Math Experts and New Hampshire Teachers.
Cornerstone has called for the halt to the Smarter Balanced testing in New Hampshire. However it’s important not to go from one bad assessment to another unproven assessment based on the controversial Competency Based Education (CBE) program now being implemented in all public schools.
It is up to the Governor and Commissioner to end the agreement with Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium as other states have done. Moving to an unproven method of Competency Based assessments, a program that has been a proven failure in the past, doesn’t help the situation.
Let’s not rush through another assessment program that has no track record of testing academic knowledge but appears to be more assessing a student’s values and attitudes. Competency Based Education is based on the failed Outcome Based Education from the 90’s.
HB323 is a bad Bill that should not be passed into law.
If you’d like more information on these two Bills, the problems with Outcome Based Ed or anything else I’ve mentioned, please feel free to reach out to me.
I’m including my testimony on both HB603 and HB323 for your reference.
Ann Marie Banfield
Education Liaison, Cornerstone Action