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RTT NYSSBA Alert Rebuttal

RTT NYSSBA Alert Rebuttal

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Published by rethinkingtesting
RTT NYSSBA Alert Rebuttal
RTT NYSSBA Alert Rebuttal

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Published by: rethinkingtesting on Apr 11, 2013
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04/22/2013

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ReThinking Testing’s Response to the “How to handle test opt
-
out requests” Alert
to the NYSSBA By the New York State Association of School Attorneys
Recently, the NYS Association of School Attorneys sent a legal alert to many NYS Boardof Education Members.These are confusing times and much information andmisinformation is being disseminated. While the memo repeats portions of what NYSEDregulations assert and what the state has already said, it also ignores other portions ofNYSED regulations and makes assertions that are open to interpretation. NYSED,teachers and parents are finding themselves in a new situation and there are manyunknowns. Therefore we have made every attempt to ensure that we are able to attributeinformation that we put out to credible sources.
 
To that end, we will provide you withlinks to the actual NYSED sources so that you may read them and draw your ownconclusions.In reference to the NYS 95% testing mandate, the memo states:
"If a district does not reach this level of p
articipation, it will not make “Adequate Yearly Progress”(AYP), and a district’s Title I funding will be affected. In addition, there may be intervention
consequences for districts that fail to meet AYP."
As per a May 2012 memo to school district superintendents from
NYSED’s
Ira Schwartz,Assistant Commissioner Office of Accountability,
“If a school is not identified as a 
Priority School in June 2012, it will not be so identified during the 2012-13, 2013-14, or 2014-2015 school years. Similarly, if a district is not identified as a Focus District in 
June 2012, it will not so be identified during the waiver period.” 
 
The only schools thatmay have their funding impacted are schools that are ALREADY identified as schools inneed of improvement and who also receive Title 1 funding.You can read the memo here:http://www.p12.nysed.gov/accountability/documents/ESEAWaiverFieldMemo053012FINAL.pdf Furthermore, the memo does not include the information that if a school is designated asa
focus
or
“priority school,”
Title 1 money is not lost. Rather, 15-20% is put into a "setside" for special improvement projects. What these projects are remains vague.You can find that information here:
 
 usny.nysed.gov/docs/10-things-to-know-about-the-esea-waiver.pdfThe memo also ignores recent comments made by Commissioner John King in an email toteachers:
"No new districts will be identified as Focus Districts and no new schools will be identified as Priority Schools based on 2012- 
13 assessment results.” 
(NYSED News and Notes, March 2013, “Message from Commissioner King”
"However, it is unknown whether student refusals to take any state assessments will beconsidered in this calculation under APPR. Without SED guidance on these open issues,districts face the unknown should a significant number of students refuse to participate instate assessments."
We have been careful to be clear about what some of the unknowns are, this being one ofthem. Many of the members of this organization are teachers themselves, so we are veryconcerned about how any actions might impact a teacher's evaluation. What we do know isthat if a significant number of students do not take the tests, the teacher will not beevaluated using NYS test scores. The teacher will have to develop 2 additional SLOsbased on local measures. This is as per the NYSED APPR Guidance document. You can findthat information here:http://www.saanys.org/uploads/content/APPR-Field-Guidance.pdf(Paragraph D51 and D52)The memo also states:
“For example, a district’s procedures for promotion to the next grade may be based on a student’s level
of achievement on a state assessment. In addition, districts may make determinations for enrollment into
honors courses/programs or gifted and talented programs based on students’ performances on state
assessments.
 
In New York State (With the exception of NYC) standardized testing does not counttowards promotion until high school. The test scores do not have any effect on your

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