HB 1432, Nashua libertarian Rep. David Murotake’s bill to delay the Smarter Balanced test, was the subject of weeks of extensive debate in the House Education Committee. After hours of discussion in executive session, the committee voted 8-7 to send an amended version to interim study.
When it comes to the House floor this week, along with four other anti-Common Core bills, political opponents of the Common Core will try again to brush aside the committee work and strike a damaging blow to higher education standards in New Hampshire. They will say, “We support the Common Core but we should delay the Smarter Balanced test until something better comes along.”
Legislators should not fall for that line. To postpone the test is to postpone the Common Core. It would be a bad deal for our children.
Failing to give a test would violate federal law and risk $116 million in federal funding for New Hampshire’s at-risk children.
There is no viable alternative to Smarter Balanced
When members of the education committee looked into continuing the NECAP or an update of the NECAP, Measured Progress, the Dover company that developed NECAP, said, “…we at Measured Progress believe that continued participation in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is the logical course of action for New Hampshire and are confident that our schools would be pleased with the result.”
There is no need for an alternative. Smarter Balanced is a good test
A major study concluded the Smarter Balanced was head and shoulders above the alternatives. You have heard that some teachers feel the test questions are not developmentally appropriate. Basically, they are saying that the test is too hard. The questions are challenging because the Common Core sets a higher standard for our students and teachers. Many other New Hampshire teachers have expressed strong support for the test. Achieving the standards will take time and the test will provide important guidance to help schools and parents measure their progress.
In New Hampshire, it’s a “no-stakes” test
You have heard the test referred to as “high stakes,” meaning that teachers’ employment or pay depends on it. The test is NOT a high stakes test. New Hampshire has the best No Child Left Behind waiver agreement in the country: our school districts create their own teacher evaluation systems. For the next two years, there is no federal or state requirement that the test be used at all. After that, the federal requirement is minimal and it applies only to schools receiving federal Title I funds.
Cost and internet access are not obstacles
Superintendents say that they have made the necessary technology investments in the normal course of business. NHDOE surveyed 12 north country superintendents. None considered broadband access a problem.
It’s hard to support the Common Core and oppose the test.
The test and the challenges it presents are the challenges that the Common Core presents. The test provides an opportunity for students to exercise their critical thinking, learn to solve multi-part problems and tackle more complex performance tasks.
The Smarter Balanced test that New Hampshire has helped develop is an important tool for improving New Hampshire schools.
That’s why the National Education Association and its 16,000 member state organization, NEA-NH, support the Smarter Balanced test, as do New Hampshire’s superintendents, PTA, higher education and business organizations.
HB 1432 would be a bad deal for New Hampshire public education.