Here is an exceptional letter written by Dan Brophy of Jackson Hole. I have received permission to post it here for you to read.
Mr. Brophy addresses many concerns that surround the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) Common Core Testing. This test is being strongly considered for adoption and replacement of the PAWS test in our state. I hope that many people read this letter and also contact those on the Select Committee on Education and Accountability. This committee will be making a decision on SBAC during the upcoming session beginning January 13th of 2015.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Members of the Select Committee:
I write to urge you to abandon consideration of adopting SBAC assessments in Wyoming schools.
This Select Committee, the Governor and the Legislature cannot truthfully state that local control is maintained when Wyoming signs onto the SBAC consortium. Wyoming may be a member of the Executive Committee, but membership conveys no rights for our state to act on its own if it disagrees with test content or methodology, or finds any other problems with the SBAC test. Once you have committed Wyoming to the SBAC path, each of you individually and all of you collectively, as the government of this state, will be as helpless as parents to change anything without the permission of outside entities whose interests do not coincide with Wyoming interests. Not one of you can refute this fact.
Wyoming spends nearly $500 million/year on state community colleges and the University of Wyoming. Surely, within this vast fountain of spending, our state could find the academic expertise and persons to design its own, flexible but superior standards in order to improve, modify or replace PAWS. And why not invite parents into the process – who have basically been ignored?
Common Core is just that: common. By design, every student learns the same things at the same time, which means early-bloomers will end up frustrated and late-bloomers will end up characterized as academically deficient. Learning pace differs by individual, and always will. Applying a rigid standard, including SBAC tests, takes away the flexibility of individual teachers to tailor their learning plans to the pace, talent and interest of each student. The rigidity of Common Core will unfairly systematize pre-judging of students who have different talents and learn at different paces. Common Core sets up standardized testing as the measure of success, but a student’s education is a much broader effort and accomplishment than test scores.
Do not adopt SBAC – this is not right for our students or their parents. Go back to work and find a Wyoming-designed, Wyoming-controlled testing regime that we can adapt and improve on our own.
Don’t forget this committee will be making a decision on SBAC during the upcoming session beginning January 13th of 2015. Members on this committee can be found HERE. PLEASE email them TODAY!