I sent a message to all of the NH State Reps. and Senators asking them to override Governor Hassan’s veto on HB603.  I am posting my message and two replies I received indicating they do not support an override.

All of the legislators should have received these e-mails.  It’s important for parents to now watch to see who votes against parents in NH and who votes to support them……………

Honorable Representatives and Senators:

It is unfortunate that Governor Hassan vetoed HB603 however it’s important to point out some of the misperceptions that exist if HB603 were to become law.

HB603 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..

Many parents exercised their rights to refuse the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA) this year for many reasons. So why is HB603 necessary?

Some school administrators provided false information that indicated parents had no choice to exclude their children from the SBA. Some of those parents either had to fight the administrators, hire an attorney or simply didn’t know enough to provide factual information on refusals.

Similar laws are already in existence in other states like California:
“Not withstanding any other provision of the law, a parent’s or guardian’s
written request to school officials to exclude his or her child from any
or all parts of the assessments administered pursuant to this chapter
shall be granted.” [Section 852 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations
further provides that parents or guardians may annually submit a written
request to the school to excuse their child from any or all parts of the
CAASPP for the school year. See 5 C.C.R. §852(c).]

It’s even more important to note that California has not lost any federal funding due to this law’s existence. (Source: http://www.fairtest.org/why-you-can-boycott-testing-without-fear Why You Can Boycott Standardized Tests Without Fear of Federal Penalties to Your School)

Parents and teachers across New Hampshire and the United States are genuinely concerned about the quality of the assessments, the data-mining of personal information and the negative impact this testing scheme is having on the quality of education in our local schools.

It’s important to send a message to parents in New Hampshire that their rights will be supported and they will be heard.

Ann Marie Banfield
Education Liaison, Cornerstone Action


On Sun, Jun 21, 2015 at 8:22 PM, James Grenier <jimgreniersullivan7@gmail.com> wrote:
Dear Anne Marie,

There has been absolutely no opt out concern expressed by parents in my District. All school districts have adopted Common Core at most a year ago and like most responsible parents in NH, parents in this region want to know the academic performance of their children and how they compare nationwide; The statewide test gives give them this information . The concern over Common Core and the new test seems to be centered around your region and amongst your supporters; it is a non-issue in this region.

I appreciate your opinion, but your views do not represent parents in this part of the state nor of my constituents.

By the way, in spite of the predictions of the end of public education if Common Core was not stopped, NH placed third in the nation on the NAPE test; way ahead of states that have dragged their feet or refused to implement Common Core. We provide top rate education for the students of NH and the DOE must be congratulated for persevering amidst all the criticism of the pedagogically driven opponents.

A good day for the students of NH; not so much for the opponents of Common Core.

With respect,

Representative Jim Grenier
Sullivan 7
Second term on House Education


Thank you for your reply and to those who also added their thoughts and opinions.
I wanted to make sure you saw the latest information on the Smarter Balanced Assessment that recently came out in the news.
Ann Marie Banfield

The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC) has joined in filing a lawsuit against the governor of North Dakota and other officials that claims the state’s participation in one of the federally funded interstate Common Core test consortia and the implementation of the Common Core standards is unconstitutional and violates federal laws that ban federal control of public schools and curriculum.

In a press release, TMLC – a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan – said that it would join Missouri attorney D. John Sauer, who won his lawsuit in a county court that claimed Missouri’s membership fees to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) is unconstitutional under the Compact Clause of the U.S. Constitution, as well as under “state and federal law.”


On Mon, Jun 22, 2015 at 7:15 AM, Judith Spang <judith@kestrelnet.net> wrote:
CLarement: “constitutionally adequate education”…. Should the emphasis be on some vague idea of “constitutional”…….or more importantly, “adequate” ???
Parents should be far more concerned with the latter.

Teaching is (or should be) a difficult task, requiring not only teacher education but commitment to professional excellence, finding how to reach each unique student and get them to perform at their best. Sadly, not every teacher does. Even in some of good schools, there are teachers who are “coasting”, and their students are not learning what they should in their classroom. I have heard of students losing a whole grade in math because the teacher was not up to the task, and they never really caught up.

Frankly, parents are not always prepared to tell whether their student is being taught adequately. They are not up on what students need to be learning in a world where such different skills are needed than the ones they learned 20 years ago.

How can the parents know? Only with testing !!!

Parents should be much more concerned about whether their kids are learning, than some fight for their right to make sure their kids– and schools– are protected from discovering that their education is not “adequate” !


Rep. Spang:
Can you clarify for me if you stand fully behind the Smarter Balanced Assessment and the results that will be coming in shortly?

I want to make sure I’m not misinterpreting your response. Are you saying you have full confidence in the Smarter Balanced Assessment at this time? If so, can you please provide the information you have found and/or researched that would lead you to this conclusion?

NH DoE Deputy Commissioner Paul Leather stated that “The state system is required by federal law [to administer Smarter Balanced Assessments] but [these assessments] may NOT help us improve teaching and learning. (Excerpt from http://www.governor.nh.gov/media/news/2015/pr-2015-03-05-pace.htm)

The New Hampshire Department of Education has yet to release industry standard validity studies on the Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment.

While the Smarter Balanced Assessment was administered this spring, there has been no external validity or reliability granted. This means the test developers have no outside confirmation that the test questions measure what they claim they measure. Nor can they provide consistent results after the assessment has been administered repeatedly.

They do have their claim of validity with a plan to develop these external validations sometime in the future. However New Hampshire statute states: RSA 193C: 3 III (b): “The assessment exercises or tasks shall be valid and appropriate representations of the standards the students are expected to achieve.”

New Hampshire Statute: 193C: 3 III (d) Teachers shall be involved in designing and using the assessment system. Were any New Hampshire teachers involved in designing the assessments?

The Smarter Balanced set the cut scores and by design, those cut scores have been set so that 62% of the children will score below proficient. (Source: Ed Week http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/11/17/13sbac.h34.html#)

Tests that are valid and reliable are the only legally defensible tests that should be incorporated into any evaluation plan of students, teachers, and districts. New Hampshire’s Board of Education and Department of Education are responsible for ensuring that statewide assessments administered in New Hampshire are valid and objective, yet they committed New Hampshire as a governing member of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) in 2010, before the test was developed.

Since Smarter Balanced cannot produce independent results that show validity or reliability, the best they can do at this point is use a statistical model to estimate reliability. District AYP for 2015 will be calculated using a predictive model, not actual data. There is no evidence of validity or reliability by the New Hampshire Department of Education.

There are also technical issues surrounding the performance tasks that are integrated into the assessment. This should be especially concerning to you in light of the efforts to use these growth scores in teacher and school evaluations.

For instance, it can take a number of tasks required by students to acquire a stable estimate on the student’s ability to perform the required tasks. This also presents a difficult challenge when comparing scores from year to year.

Dr. Gary Thompson, clinical psychologist in Utah, cited in his testimony before the Utah legislature the February 2013 report from the U.S. Department of Education. Common Core state standards will authorize the use of testing instruments that will measure “attributes, dispositions, social skills, attitudes and intra personal resources.”

In other words, this assessment will measure exactly what legislators serving on the House Education Committee in the prior session said they did not want measured.

He stated that, “The level of information these provide about a particular child is both highly sensitive and extremely personal in nature. In a clinical setting these mental health records are strictly protected by multiple federal state and professional association regulations, including HIPAA.”

In the case of New Hampshire children, you are using our tax dollars to administer psychological assessments without telling parents or obtaining their permission.

Because Common Core provisions have granted HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) waivers, students’ “highly sensitive and extremely personal” information is not protected.

Common Core mandates information to be uploaded to the SLDS (State Longitudinal Data System) and shared federally. Then, due to recent changes in Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) laws, that sensitive student data is available to third parties.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment is a psychometric assessment. Psychometrics is the field of study concerned with the theory and technique of psychological measurement, which includes the measurement of knowledge, abilities, attitudes, personality traits, and educational measurement. The field is primarily concerned with the construction and validation of measurement instruments such as questionnaires, tests, and personality assessments. Today these tests are mainly used in the corporate world to find where an individual would best fit in a company’s structure.

Not only are parents concerned that the Smarter Balanced Assessment will not provide the kind of information beneficial to them (academic achievement results) they have the added concern over where this information will end up and how exactly it will be used. It was just a short time ago that we read about the data breach on 4 million federal workers by hackers in China.

While I certainly respect your opinion and appreciate your response, it would help me and others to understand exactly where you are gathering your information from to form the opinion you stated above.

In the meantime, knowing there are numerous concerns over this standardized assessment, I hope you will consider the parents in your district who may look at all of the information on this standardized test and feel it’s not appropriate for their children.


Ann Marie Banfield