From: CenturyLink Customer
To: Ann Millner, Steve Urquhart, Jim Dabakis, Wayne Niederhauser, Mark Madsen, Jerry Stevenson, Howard Stephenson, Aaron Osmond, Marie Poulson, Michael Noel, Carol Moss, Daniel McCay, David Lifferth, Eric Hutchings, Greg Hughes, Francis Gibson, Justin Fawson, Steve Eliason, Kim Coleman, Lowry Snow, Brad Last, LaVar Christensen,
Subject: SB204&SB222
Date: Mon Mar 02 00:09:02 MST 2015
Body:
Subject: SB222 - Digital Teaching and Learning Program
    SB 204 S1 - Parental Rights in Public Education Amendments

Dear Senate and House Education Committees,

     I still struggle with accepting your role as the other State School Board, but for what it's worth, some input.

    SB204 S1.  I don’t have any major problems with the amendments, but yesterday I was visiting with a school district testing coordinator, and he mentioned concerns about the part giving parents the right to have their child exempted from taking “any summative, interim, or formative test that was developed for, or provided by, the state under this title; or any test that is federally mandated or mandated by the state under this title,” which sounds like all “standardized” testing.  His concerns were 1) that exempting students from testing skews a school’s rating on test scores, which scores are used in grading schools and evaluating teachers, and 2) there are problems with keeping track year to year of who has been exempted. 
    I have a concern with the changes that say that the test scores “may not be considered in determining a student's academic grade for the appropriate course.”  With that provision, there is little incentive for a student to do his best on the test (for which his teacher and the school will be graded), meaning more answers following a tic-tac-toe pattern.

    SB222.  It sounds like a good plan to help develop ways to help teachers learn how to use digital technology to help students learn better.  It is obvious that Senator Stephenson has put a lot of effort in the details, for which he should be complimented.  I sometimes wonder why he didn’t just run for the state school board instead of a legislator.  I don’t like some of his ideas, but he might be valuable in some ways as a paid consultant for the official State School Board. 

    Again, thanks for your work.  Have fun the next couple of weeks.

Sincerely,
 Fred Ash, Legislative Chair of the URSEA