Kristin Blair at Carolina Journal has an article up this morning that points out the issues that have come along with Sen. Berger’s Read To Achieve law. There has been mass confusion on the new law, it’s roll out (which DPI was partly responsible for by the way) and complaints from educators that the reading passages contained in it are not appropriate for 3rd graders.
Read to Achieve’s implementation has been an unmitigated debacle. On minitest reading passages, “the readability is way beyond third grade,” says Mark Edwards, superintendent of the Mooresville Graded School District. Edwards says requirements essentially had “students testing every single week throughout the remainder of the year in what I call a high-stakes, extremely stressful environment for teachers and students.” Superintendents in conversations with teachers, principals, and parents “were getting wave after wave of concern,” notes Edwards.
Online opposition to Read to Achieve has been fast and furious, spawning at least two Facebook pages since January; one accumulated 2,200-plus “likes” in two weeks. Parents are chronicling tears, tension, and tummy aches. A Change.org petition demanding an end to Read to Achieve has garnered almost 500 signatures.
Some relief is on the way. The State Board of Education, responding to petitions from 30 school districts, voted in February to allow school systems to use alternative reading assessments to determine proficiency. Tests must be reliable, valid, and approved by local school boards.
Common Core in and of itself has multiple assessments built into weekly work, but if you ask supporters they will tell you there are no tests in Common Core. Semantics and personal slights are the ally of the Common Core supporters because they can’t defend the actual standards and they know it.
Blair also suggests something is wrong overall with the way the education system is working here in North Carolina.
“Our prevailing paradigm — implement now, think later — is an exercise in folly. Feckless, heedless decision-making requires constant fixes and begets confusion for parents. Jennifer Strickland is channeling her frustration into a run for school board, saying of school officials’ approach to testing, “They [change] the rules every week. … We can’t keep up.””
I agree. There is an utter lack of transparency and a great degree of agenda driven coalition building going on. Much of it outside the realm of debate and circumventing parents. None of it has to do with serving our children, all of it has to do with jockeying for positioning and with money.
the NC State Superintendent the President of the CCSSO?