Mary Ellen Miller, member of the Iowa State Board of Education, keeps defending the decision to move forward with adopting the Smarter Balanced assessments by saying, “Our children are worth it.”
I have not heard a single critic of the Smarter Balanced assessments in Iowa say that our children aren’t worth it. The issue isn’t the inherent worth of Iowa’s school children, the issue is whether the Smarter Balanced assessments are worth it, whatever “it” is. And “it” is whatever districts will need to cut from their budgets to pay for the additional costs of the Smarter Balanced assessments.
Heads up, ICCSD school board candidates. Here’s what Chief Academic Officer Becky Furlong had to say about how adoption of the Smarter Balanced assessments could affect the district:
However, she said the Smarter Balanced tests could have a major impact on ICCSD.
Furlong said the new exams cost more than the current Iowa Assessments, and that the district might struggle with a lack of bandwidth to administer them. She said students who aren’t familiar with online tests also might be at a disadvantage.
“There are some legitimate concerns,” she said.
Furlong said she hopes the Department of Education will provide adequate time, funding and professional development to districts to successfully implement the new tests.
Of course, the DE doesn’t appropriate money for schools, that’s up to the Iowa Legislature. And while Miller may be of the opinion that it would be “easy” for the Legislature to find the money, the 2015 legislative session suggests otherwise.