In just three minutes, Ross Swartzendruber gets results for his kids and community. Last year, he testified at the January 12, 2016 Salem-Keizer School Board meeting about about new opportunities for local control written into the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The federal legislation allows parents to opt-out of annual testing and help develop community-driven assessments. In addition to opting out, Swartzendruber asked that high-stakes testing be stopped and the $4 million Pearson Readygen literacy curriculum be investigated by the District.
What a difference three minutes of testimony and on year make. Here’s how Swartzendruber influenced change:
Using opt-out to stop federally-mandated participation rates in high-stakes annual testing
Two competing provisions in ESSA (opt-out and the 95% participation requirement) were dominated by the hundreds of thousands of parents opting out of high-stakes testing for their children. On March 9, 2017 , parent pressure forced Congress to eliminate 95% participation requirement in ESSA. The opt-out movement and public education won.
That’s good, because Oregon failed to reach that level in math last year, something Swartzendruber presented to the school board after the scores were released in October 2016.
Stop Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) testing
Swartzendruber persisted with testimony at the school board, Senate Education Committee and in March 2017, at the State Board of Education. In April 2017, the Oregon Department of Education revealed they would drop SBAC testing from high-school starting in 2018.
Investigate the District’s $4 million Pearson Readygen purchase
The elementary literacy program purchased from Pearson included culturally inappropriate content which was returned to the company by the District.
“Personalized Learning” Redbird is next on the list.
If Swartzendruber was able to influence this much positive change in three minutes, imagine the possibilities if you elect him School Board Director.
Vote Ross Swartzendruber for Salem-Keizer School Director, Zone 1.
January 12, 2016 Salem-Keizer School Board meeting testimony
Parents worry about high-stakes testing at school and there’s something you can do about it – opt out.
This year, the Student Assessment Bill of Rights requires schools to notify parents about opting students out of statewide summative testing.
Administration, costs, name, type are to be included in the notification, along with the opt-out form and explanation.
I’m opting my kids out and I’d like to tell you why.
Standards and assessments were developed without parent or teacher input. Text materials from engageNY are loaded with errors. Pearson ReadyGen will be in every elementary school next year, tracking every keystroke to measure achievement.
Massive data collection systems exist to manage this information. Student Longitudinal Data Systems track each child from birth or preschool onwards, including medical information, survey data and data from many state agencies such as the criminal justice system, child services and health departments.
Parents opted out hundreds of thousands of students across the nation. Many states waived or postponed enforcement. Parent resistance to outside control over schools caused Congress to enact the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) last month, which loosens assessment requirements by shifting enforcement to states. This allows the opportunity for more local control. The result of compromise, the law opens the door for communities to develop their own standards.
Input from parents is crucial as education leaders develop state standards. Oregon needs to qualify for the ESSA pilot for teacher-driven assessments that include creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication skills. Performance-based standards should replace Common Core State Standards. Only conduct mandated ESSA assessments or stop annual testing all together.
The facts are against annual testing. No other advanced country does this to their children. Annual assessments radically change the learning environment, creating test-centered schools. Please conduct mandated ESSA assessments only or stop annual testing all together. Stop the use of federal funding to finance online testing systems. Untie student performance from teacher evaluation and remove Student Learning Goals. Apply for Title II funding to research a teacher’s workplace condition. Keep our data local. These issues bear discussion.
Please make sure that parents are notified about the February 1 deadline and tell them the costs of test-centered schools.