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Nashua board members renew call for delay of Common Core testing – UL

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Ms. Ziehm and some other Nashua BOE members don’t seem to understand where the testing mandate is coming from.  As this summary of assessment laws makes clear, the federal NCLB mandate, non-waivable, is that every child in grades 3-8 and one high school grade be tested every year.  It must be a single test, statewide. In NH, the selected assessment to replace the NECAP that ended this year has, for years, been Smarter Balanced.  As was clear during the debate of Rep. Murotake’s bill, the New Hampshire Department of Education does not have the option of waiving the requirement that Nashua give the statewide assessment.  From the UL report:

At Monday night’s BOE meeting, Sandra Ziehm proposed delaying the start of Smarter Balance for two years. The board rejected a similar motion made by David Murotake in December.

“This will give us more time to prepare and acquire new technology,” said Ziehm, who added that a delay will also bolster confidence in the tests.

But Superintendent Mark Conrad said the district cannot delay Smarter Balance and substitute another test without putting federal educational funding at risk.

“If you are considering this, I would suggest that you ask for an opinion from an attorney to know what your options are under state law,” said Conrad.

While a majority of members of the board expressed support for the delay, they also felt they needed more information. The board voted to table Ziehm’s motion until they could hear from a lawyer on the legal consequences of delaying the Smarter Balance tests and using an alternative assessment in the interim.


“In my mind, the N.H. Board of Education has overstepped its authority,” said Ziehm. “Unfunded mandates are illegal and just on that alone they can’t force us to take (this test.)”

via Nashua board members renew call for delay of Common Core testing


  1. Where in the NCLB Waiver or state law does it stipulate any action, penalty, or loss of funding, for non-compliance of districts with this Smarter Balanced Assessment requirement?

    • Bill Duncan says:

      USED has frequently made this threat – in CA, for instance – and is currently threatening WA with loss of Title I funding. I’ll leave the legal research to someone else.

  2. Sure. I’ve heard the threats from Arne Duncan and Tom Raffio. However, the Union Leader article points out that Florida, Pennsylvania and Indiana have all pulled out of Smarter Balanced Consortia. Many more states have pulled out of the PARCC Consortia. Just how many of these states have actually lost funding? Where’s the data?

    • Bill Duncan says:

      Pulling out of this or that consortium has nothing to do with it. They will still give a test every year to every child in grades 3-8 etc. Just a different test.

  3. Hey, that’s all that Londonderry, Dover, Manchester, Alton and Nashua school boards want: the option to administer another assessment to their students.

  4. So refresh my memory, will you? When was the public hearing on whether New Hampshire should join the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortia? Or the public hearing on what the Department should promise in its ESEA (NCLB) Waiver application?

    • Bill Duncan says:

      Your proposition that there should be a public hearing on everything you decide you might have disagreed with maybe be rhetorically satisfying but will not and should not happen. Life goes on without a hearing on every decision made by agencies managed by people elected by voters. That’s what elections are for.

      • I grew up in a small New England town that had an open town meeting form of Government. I could not believe what the citizens of New Hampshire accepted recently.
        Parents representing their own children, and other educators qualified to ask and answer questions showed up at a meeting , many from a long distance, on a cold winter night in Hollis, New Hampshire to learn and debate the virtues of a “common core standards”. It is a concept of education that most had never heard of before the Federal Government bribed state educators to water down standards and told them to keep their mounts shut.
        Nobody from the New Hampshire department of education felt the need to even show up.
        Are they afraid that someone might ask why they accepted large amounts of money from Federal collectivists and “gapologists? ” Instead of showing up and welcoming free debate they and the media have defended them and engaged in character assassination of whomever disagreed with them.
        That night was an example of fundamental concepts of dignity, respect, equality before the law and personal freedom under attack by our nation’s own government and that part of our country media that believes they know better than you how to educate your children.

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