Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Testimony - Grading schools (to Senate)

OTHER - 5328 - Creating a school-grading program that relies on the accountability index. (Hearing is on the Proposed Substitute.)

Testimony to Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee

Good afternoon Chairman Litzow and Senators,

Washington State PTA has not taken a position on terminology in the new achievement index.

Letters and numbers are easier for a layperson to grasp than education labels; however, schools are complex and it is difficult to provide feedback before the new index is up and running, and before it is generally accepted that the index accurately reflects what is happening in the school.

On this bill I have a comment and a question for the committee:
  • The comment: The focus on at-risk populations is much appreciated.
  • My question: How does special education fit in here?
Are those students considered at-risk? Do we only focus on the special education gap if it is combined with low-income status?

Research tells us special education students are less likely to receive access to a full and rigorous curriculum. Most students with special needs are not cognitively impaired and don’t require lower standards. Rather, they need supports to ensure the same access as typically developing students.

How would this access be “graded?” Would it be considered at all?

-- Ramona Hattendorf, WSPTA government relations coordinator

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