To: David Lifferth,
Subject: Vote YES on HB81
Date: Fri Feb 07 03:04:59 MST 2014
I understand you are on the House Education Committee and will be voting on HB81. I have reviewed this bill, as well as information on the new SAGE testing. HB81 brings some sense of sanity back to the process of testing our children by allowing parents to review the questions with which their child will be tested. Parents are not looking to see how difficult these questions are but whether or not these questions are appropriate for their children to be asked. It is only reasonable that any and all parents (not just the currently allowed 15 in the entire state) be allowed to review what their child will be asked in these tests. HB81 addresses this. Other concerns are noted below. Please vote YES on HB81 and pass it out of committee.
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).