Today’s Nashua Telegraph reports on the odd letter from the Nashua Teachers’ Union complaining about the Smarter Balanced test. Here’s how superintendent Mark Conrad responded:
After reading Sherman’s letter, Nashua School Superintendent Mark Conrad said he was disappointed by the tone and by the fact the union did not suggest recommendations to improve the test.
“The concerns that they expressed regarding Smarter Balanced were either vague or confusing, and I think this has been a difficulty around working toward having a dialogue about Common Core or Smarter Balanced,” he said.
Regarding the district’s technological capabilities, Conrad said schools have sufficient bandwidth to implement the test. The district has replaced many computer screens over the last three years, he said, and wireless Internet networks have been updated at elementary and middle schools over the last two years.
In terms of the developmental appropriateness of the test, Conrad said he wonders whether the teachers realize the test will be adaptive. Some students might have a more positive experience with Smarter Balanced than with the test in use now because the questions will be tailored to suit their ability levels, he said.
“In what other ways can you make a state-level assessment more personal?” he said.
Conrad said it will take the district more than one year to get ready, and teachers and administrators must continue to work together during that time.
“We’re going to continue to move in this direction,” he said.
via Nashua Teachers Union criticizes Common Core standards test – NashuaTelegraph.com.
Superintendent Conrad didn’t like the “tone” of the Nashua Teachers’ Union president and wonders why there’s difficulty having a “dialogue” about Common Core and Smarter Balance?
Every time someone tries to have a dialogue, they are marginalized by the NH Department of Education or told they are “misinformed.” The Department even opposes a legislative study on a number of these abrupt changes.
There was no process involving the public when Common Core or Smarter Balanced assessments were adopted.
In 2010 not a single member of the public testified at either of the two public hearings on Common Core. Why? The Department never informed the public and was in a rush to adopt these Standards in order to qualify for more federal funding. It’s always about the federal funds, not the children or their parents.
There was no public hearing on Smarter Balanced assessments, nor can anyone modify these assessments regardless of the “tone” of their disagreements. In 2010 the Chairman of the Board of Education warned that these changes were not good for New Hampshire. He objected to the Standards being “shoved down our throats.”
I’d say 7 years and hundreds of teachers and, by now, thousands of NH parents, is a lot of process.
Congratulations to Mark Conrad for continuing to focus on what’s best for the kids and community of Nashua!