The Washington Post published an article: States Reconsider Common Core Tests.  Here is an excerpt:

Beginning in March, more than 4 million students will serve as guinea pigs for the English and math tests for the Common Core, a set of standards adopted by almost every state thatAnn Marie Banfield map out what students should know and be able to do in each grade.

Ultimately, Common Core tests will be used to assess both students and teachers,……

Last week the New Hampshire House Education Committee listened to testimony on HB 1432AN ACT delaying implementation of certain statewide assessments and studying the effects of delaying implementation of certain curriculum changes in the public schools.

Something to note:

1) The NH Department of Education (NH DOE) has no control over the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC)

2) The SBAC is similar to the flawed tests that were used in CA & KY.  Kentucky cited the inability to score subjective items and inefficiency as some of the problems with the KIRIS and CATS.   The “Kentucky Experiment” was abandoned later as a “failure”.

3) The NH DOE made an enormous mistake when they signed an agreement with the SBAC without teacher input.

How can they think about evaluating teachers in this state on a flawed assessment?  

What kind of message does that send to hard working and dedicated teachers?

 Who supports the flawed Smarter Balanced Assessment?


As you can see here, the New Hampshire Teachers Union in Nashua opposes the Smarter Balanced Assessment saying it’s inappropriate for children. I have to applaud them for leading the effort to bring this flawed assessment to the public.

I recently testified before the House Education Committee on HB 1432.  However I suggested that instead of issuing a delay on the SBAC, HB 1432 should be amended to pull New Hampshire out of the SBAC.  Why delay a bad test? What were my reasons for making this suggestion?  They were pretty much identical to what the Nashua Union said.

1.The technology has been a big problem and in one state a Charter School was ranked at an “F” based on a technology error.  Can you imagine if a teacher is being ranked using a flawed assessment?

2.Mathematicians have confirmed the Assessment fails to focus on math computation skills but instead on communication skills.  This will put young children at a disadvantage along with children who have poor communication skills or who are just learning the language.

3.This kind of assessment was used years ago in Kentucky and California.  It was an enormous failure.

4.The assessment will be given over 12 weeks.  This presents a security risk and puts some students at a disadvantage since they will have less instruction prior to taking the test.

Several months ago I spoke at a Nashua School Board meeting and warned them about the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  I asked the Board if the teachers had vetted the new assessment and suggested that all of the teachers conduct a careful analysis of the SBAC, especially if they were going to be evaluated in any way on the students’ performance.  A short time ago, one of the Principal’s in the district released information on what the Nashua teachers thought of the SBAC.  While their negative feedback may have shocked some people, it came as no surprise to me.

The Federal Government is illegally funding the Smarter Balanced Consortium and has given about $175 Million Dollars to the Smarter Balanced Consortium so they can develop the assessment and instructional modules.  The push from the Obama Administration is to target the teachers and make them accountable to a test that we all know is flawed.

The Obama Administration’s focus on redesigning public education put an even greater emphasis on “teaching to the test” and pushed for teachers to be evaluated on flawed assessments.  Now we have the New Hampshire Department of Education under Governor Hassan following this scheme.  This is one big set up for failure for our public school teachers and no one seems to be willing to step in and stop it.

I have to wonder where Governor Hassan is on this important issue in public education?  She should be leading New Hampshire out of this Consortium.  That would take real leadership and I’m afraid we simply have not seen that from this Administration.

Parents across the country are waging war against these standardized tests by opting their children out.  Teachers in Nashua and New York are publicly sounding the alarm that things are getting worse under the Common Core Initiative.  At what point will the Governor decide to take back state and local control as other states have done and pull out of these Common Core Standards and Assessments?

That will take real leadership and that’s something we are simply not seeing from the Hassan Administration.

Written by Ann Marie Banfield, volunteer Education Liaison for Cornerstone Action.