Iowa State BOE Unanimous Vote to Recommend Smarter Balanced Doesn’t Mean the Fight is Over Yet.

iowa-restorted-a-child-is-moreI attended the Board of Education meeting on Thursday, August 6th in order to witness if some  of the hard work I have done the last two years of showing everyone from our Superintendent to the Governor  how the SBAC’s cost, content and loss of local control would hurt Iowa,  actually might pay off.  Well, no surprise, my repetitive message fell on deaf ears.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, I again touched on cost.  More importantly,  I pointed out to the Board the fact that since states first opted to participate in the SBAC in 2010, the number of states still in SBAC is now 15 from 31, as of today.  Iowa currently  is NOT taking the SBAC, but after the motion to adopt the SBAC came to a  vote, the Iowa Board of Education unanimously voted to jump on the SBAC ship.  This ship is one that every other state is jumping off. It causes me to pause and wonder why, when rats are jumping off of a ship, are our rats are trying to get on?  What happened to Iowa being a leader in education, not the follower?

Unfortunately, when our current Legislators turn over such huge decision, as the importance of the education of Iowan children and their teachers, to a body of unelected people, this is what happens.  When you have a Board that answers to no one, you get the silo effect where the Board’s flawed ideology supersedes all common sense and the will of the people.

There was a point in the meeting, however, when I thought that maybe someone on the Board of Education was actually thinking of the future of the Iowan children.  Board member Mike May did bring up the fact that schools would have to burden the cost of tripling or quadrupling the cost of an assessment. This means that there would be less funding available to actually teach, and the funds would be put to testing.  The idea of such costs was quickly dismissed when Board member Michael Knedler described his conversation with a Superintendent about the tripling of costs. The Superintendent told Mr. Knedler  there is enough money in their budget, and it would not be a big deal for the school district to pay for the new tests.  This sentiment was then doubled down upon when board member Mary Ellen Miller felt confident that the schools could “get the money, it’s all relative when it comes to the assessments. Shouldn’t we need the money for teaching today, and we need to do what we can for the testing.”  Board member Miller went on the say that everyone needs to email their Legislators to push to get the money needed for the test.

Did I miss something this session about funding for education? Where is this money going to come from? If Legislators showed the money wasn’t there to increase the Education budget by more than 1.25% and Governor Branstad vetoed the one time education expenditure, how is the State of Iowa going to come up with quadrupling the cost of a test?

Their unanimous vote speaks volumes to their lack of real world experience in today’s Iowa classrooms, and it reassures me, as a mother, to keep up the fight and work with Legislators to stop the implementation of SBAC, as SBAC now needs to go to the Rules Committee before the nail is put in the coffin.


  1. Leslie Beck says:

    Thank you, Michele, for your tireless efforts. I do feel like we are jumping onto a sinking ship by signing on to SBAC. The entire thing defies common sense.

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