Action Needed: Contact Iowa House-Senate Ed Reform Conference Committee on Assessments

The Iowa House and Iowa Senate have put together a conference committee to iron out differences in their respective education reform bills.

Of specific concern is a provision in the amended HF 215 which grants the Iowa Department of Education authority to mandate a different assessment (from what is already required by state law)  to local schools which paves the way for Smarter Balanced Assessments.  We knew this would require statutory change.  This would further entrench the Common Core State Standards in Iowa.

The language on assessments and data collection begins on line 30-3 of HF 215.

Annually, the department shall report state data
 30  4 for each indicator in the condition of education report.
 30  5 Rules adopted pursuant to this subsection shall specify that
 30  6 the approved district=wide assessment of student progress
 30  7 administered for purposes of this paragraph the indicators
 30  8  shall be the assessment utilized by school districts statewide
 30  9 in the school year beginning July 1, 2011, or a successor
 30 10 assessment administered by the same assessment provider.
 30 11    (2)  Notwithstanding subparagraph (1), for the school
 30 12 year beginning July 1, 2014, and each succeeding school
 30 13 year, the rules shall provide that all students enrolled
 30 14 in school districts in grades three through eleven shall,
 30 15 within forty=five days of the end of the school year, be
 30 16 administered an assessment that at a minimum assesses the
 30 17 indicators identified in this paragraph "b"; is aligned with
 30 18 the Iowa common core standards in both content and rigor;
 30 19 is developed by a consortium in which the state of Iowa is
 30 20 a participant; accurately describes student achievement and
 30 21 growth for purposes of the school, the school district, and
 30 22 state accountability systems; and provides valid, reliable,
 30 23 and fair measures of student progress toward college or career
 30 24 readiness. 
 30 25    (3)  The director shall establish a task force to review
 30 26 and assist with the final development and implementation of
 30 27 the assessment specified in subparagraph (2).  The task force
 30 28 members shall include but not be limited to teachers, school
 30 29 administrators, business leaders, representatives of state
 30 30 agencies, and members of the general public.  This subparagraph
 30 31 is repealed July 1, 2015.

I encourage you to contact the members of the conference committee as they are meeting TODAY.

Updated: The second paragraph was updated to further clarify what the Iowa Code required.

About Shane Vander Hart

Shane Vander Hart founded Iowans for Local Control in 2012 which later merged with Iowa RestorEd. Shane also is the founder and editor-in-chief of Caffeinated Thoughts and the founder and president of 4:15 Communications, LLC, a social media & communications consulting/management firm.  You can connect with Shane on Facebook or follow him on Twitter and Google +.

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