Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Costs? What costs?

An illustrator I am not, but you get the idea.

I’ve written before about how mystifying it is that the president of Iowa’s teachers’ union, Tammy Wawro, who has continually advocated for a 4% or 6% increase in state school funding, would nonetheless support the proposal to adopt the Smarter Balanced standardized tests, which are so costly that they will gut state school aid increases for years to come. Now it turns out that Wawro will be one of the three presenters of the proposal to the legislature tomorrow. Does Wawro feel any responsibility for the school budget cuts that will occur as a result of adopting Smarter Balanced, or is she just in complete denial? How is she serving the interests of the state’s teachers or students by advocating for very expensive tests that can only be funded by diverting money from staffing and school programming?

Another presenter will be the superintendent of the Waterloo schools, Jane Lindaman. Lindaman, too, claims to support higher increases in state school aid. Will she identify the tax increases that should occur to enable the state to increase school aid while also buying these expensive tests? Will she discuss what cuts she expects to make in her own district to pay the bill for Smarter Balanced? Or are we all just going to pretend that adopting Smarter Balanced has nothing to do with future supplemental aid?

1 comment:

Mary Murphy said...

The Smarter Balanced Assessments will be expensive; however, IMO, the big money will be in the new curricula the schools districts must purchase so that the students perform better when taking the SBAs. And this curricula will be more technology based, which will ultimately be used to justify needing less teacher boots in the schools. So it makes no sense that a teachers' union leader would support SBAs.

To understand what is motivating support, it would probably be helpful to take a look at what seminars, conferences, and professional development these supporters have been to over the last few years, who spoke,and who funded (directly and indirectly) the "professional development." For example, while it would be nice if The Leadership and Learning Center on the Houghten Mifflin Harcout website was altruistic, it is probably not.