Rep. Murotake spins fiction, gets a letter of support from his union local, risks an open meeting violation to get a letter of support from his fellow Nashua Board of Ed members…but, in the end, there’s no version of his bill that the State could afford to pass. Rep. Murotake’s goal for HB 1432 has been shifting and unclear, but let’s just assume that his goal is for the State not to use Smarter Balanced for the next two years and that any alternative would be acceptable.
Here’s why that cannot be done.
New Hamphsire cannot postpone the test
It’s clear from the No Child Left Behind law that New Hampshire must give a test every year. (We could request a waiver, as other states have done and failed, but we don’t need to pass a law to do that.)
…cannot use the old NECAP or other states’ tests
The test must be aligned to our College and Career Ready Standards, so we could not go back to the old NECAP or use MA or NY or some other state’s test aligned to their standards. Testing students on some different standard would not make sense anyway, when our teachers and students have been working under own standards for years.
…cannot make a “Common Core aligned NECAP”
There have been suggestions that the State could go back to Measured Progress to use some left over questions and “align” them to the Common Core. First, Measured Progress is does not appear able to do that. But even if the State had a reason not to use the Smarter Balanced test it has helped develop for years, and then found a capable contractor, and then appropriated the money to support that kind of project, there is no time for that.
First, NHDOE would have to get U.S. Department of Education to renegotiate would NCLB waiver, which specifies that Smarter Balanced is our annual assessment. Not likely. Then there’s the vetting, piloting and field testing, all of which have been organized on a 23 state basis for Smarter Balanced. Then there’s the US Department of Education’s peer review of the test. Any of these factors alone would make a new test infeasible. Taken together, New Hampshire would literally not have the time to go through a process like that process before spring of 2015.
Passing HB 1432 with any of these bad ideas would carry big costs
When New Hampshire accepts federal funds, the State agrees to follow federal law. Putting any of these ideas into state law would cost New Hampshire our NCLB waiver and risk $116 million in federal education funding that comes into the state each year.