To: David Lifferth,
Date: Tue Feb 11 04:58:27 MST 2014
I urge you to please vote yes on HB81. HB81 is a needed to correct inadequate oversight for the new SAGE (Common Core) tests. As a parent of school-age children, knowing what they are learning and what they are being tested on is of the up most importance to me. It is no surprise that the more involved a parent is in a child's education, the more success we see from those children. Currently, a committee of only 15 parents in the entire STATE of Utah was able to view the tests, and are unable to voice their feedback. Schools will teach to the test. How can we argue that a parent needs to be involved in a child's education when the government is keeping them from knowing and approving of the tests they will take? It is hypocrisy.
HB81 solves these two problems:
1. Currently, only 15 Utah parents are allowed to participate in the review process. This should be open to any parent who is willing to participate, and will sign a non-disclosure agreement.
2. The current non-disclosure agreement is too broad: it currently prohibits parents from discussing test questions. While probably well-intended, it is an infringement of 1st amendment rights. This can be fixed by removing the word “discuss.”
Additional data points:
· The contract with the vendor (AIR) recommended that test questions be reviewed by at least 100 parents.
· The 15 parents reviewed approximately 10,000 questions in just 5 days.
· Parents flagged 597 questions that they found objectionable.
· In spite of their concerns, only a fraction of these objectionable questions were dropped or changed (43 dropped, 156 changed). None of the parents was told which objectionable test questions remain in the test, or what changes were made. This is a concern for parents in districts around the state.
· Parents have the Constitutionally-protected right and duty to exercise primary control over the care, supervision, upbringing, and education of their children (Utah Code Section 62A-4a-201).
· The state's role is secondary and supportive to the primary role of a parent” (Utah Code Section 62A-4a-201).