Do I think annualized standardized tests a civil rights issue?
The simple answer is NO!
The civil rights issue is when the states, like Florida, ignore the ESEA Waiver goals as if they do not exist. One comment I heard from a very high ranking official, “All students scores are flat, scores for students with disabilities are flat, why should I do anything different for students with disabilities?”
That is an issue that should make the hair on the back of your neck stand-up, but it does not seem to bother some of the same people who are clamoring for annualized testing.
If we test kids annual, scores are flat and these groups do not rise up and scream, what makes them think we should contine this madness
I would be far happier if students with disabilities and all other students were tested in 3rd grade, 5th grade, 8th grade and 11th grade — or something like that.
It would shift the focus to the four key points in a child’s academic career.
1- Success by Third Grade would be a great place to start. Annie E. Casey Foundation published Early Warning: Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters but the matter has gotten far too little attention from most disabilities groups, with the exception of the Learning Disabilities Association of Florida and LDA of America.
2- 5th grade is an excellent grade to target — so elementary school principals are focused on handing off students who can read at far higher levels of proficiency to middle schools
3- 8th grade gives middle school principals and schools the same impetus to hand off students who can read at far higher levels or proficiency to high schools
4- 11th grade would help to maximize the percentage of students leaving high school who are proficient readers and give struggling readers an extra year to get it right
3rd grade retention has been hoisted as a great strategy. If one moved heaven and earth to get 3rd graders proficient and a student was still struggling, I could buy that strategy, but in Florida half the students are identified with a disability in 3rd grade — leaving far too little time to get it right. If I was running a school, we would strive to identify the struggling readers in Kindergarten and at the latest by the middle of 1st grade
In states like Florida, one must understand that the drive to charter schools and voucher programs would be devastated if far more students were proficient by fourth grade. Do I really think this is the reason we do not focus on earlier identification and an all out effort to help students to achieve success by 3rd grade.
Since I have seen the percent of time spent at the state level be totally consumed by the focus on charter schools and vouchers and virtually no time spent on success by third grade, I must admit, I do think it is a conscious effort to drive privatization — what self-respecting person would want 3rd grade retention when they can skirt the system
Yes, I am a skeptic, with many wounds to show for it
Annual standardized tests a civil right issue? No, — but having our kids fail is.
I will continue to write on and campaign for Success by Third Grade and helping our students succeed throughout their academic careers