An Incorrect "Correction"
Last Friday night, Assembly Education Committee Chair Catherine Nolan introduced a piece of legislation (A.8929) that if enacted would devastate school districts around the state. Joined by more than 50 colleagues from all regions, this legislation would:
- Allow parents to opt out of allowing school districts to share information with all third party vendors. As drafted this bill would allow parents to pick and choose who school districts could share information with, including those who provide basic functions that schools are required to offer students, like transportation, scheduling and special education. This would create a burdensome and costly administrative nightmare that could threaten the ability of districts to operate.
In addition this bill would:
- Prohibit the use of state and local common core aligned assessments in APPR agreements until after the 2014-15 school year. Because the ability to make this change would be contingent on a federal waiver, practically speaking districts would still have to administer APPR agreements as written, and be prepared to honor them if the waiver comes through, but might ultimately do that work without then being able to use the data. Further, this creates a situation in which some teachers and principals in a building may have a measure of student performance in their evaluations, while others in the same building would be evaluated using only subjective measures. Districts would have no ability to reclaim other concessions made during the APPR negotiation process.
- Encroach on local control: As drafted this bill would shift decision making around student promotion and placement away from locally controlled school districts and prohibit the use of state assessments as a primary factor in these decisions. At the same time, this bill would create a new mandate, requiring that school districts provide annual parental notification of their promotion policies.
- Professional Development: This bill would take the half step of directing SED to create additional professional and curriculum development tools, but provides no resources to the department to do so. More importantly this bill fails to provide any support for districts in implementing anything that is offered.
- Require that the state use RTTT funding to print additional versions of the state assessment and take steps to reduce field testing: While it is commendable to take steps to reduce the time spent on state assessments, and provide educators with faster more comprehensive access to test questions and information; this requirement would violate the state’s RTTT agreement, as using the funding to support the state assessment regime is a prohibited activity. It is not yet clear what the effect on state and district level federal funding would be, if this provision were violated.
This bill is being fast tracked for passage as early as this week.
Please contact your legislators by calling Assembly Representative at 518.455.4100 and State Senator at 518.455.2800 Ask him or her to vote NO on this legislation.