The merits and fallibility of student testing were debated by the Springville-Griffith School Board this week, when one member proposed a resolution condemning the tests at a board meeting.
Kara Kane asked the board to approve a statement titled, “The Unmitigated Harm Caused by High Stakes Testing.”
Kane said she drew up the resolution after hearing from concerned residents about the increased pressure standardized tests place on teachers, resources and students, and asked board members to formally oppose the “whims” of the state Education Department.
Janine Caimano urged her fellow board members to support the resolution and show taxpayers they’re “standing up” for teachers and students.
Board Vice President Delia Bonenberger was more cautious. “We’re focusing on how bad and how many tests there are,” she said, “but everything was not perfect before. … I like the Common Core. The teachers know where they’re going. I’m not willing to go back to the good old days when everyone did what they wanted. That didn’t work, either.”
Kane also asked that parents be notified of testing dates. Superintendent Paul Connelly said the district has started to list test dates on the district’s website.
The matter was tabled until the next board meeting.
In other news, the board agreed to organize a community budget forum. Board President Mel Williams said feedback from last year’s budget season showed that people want more input in the process. Williams said the format would be small groups working with a facilitator who would assist in note-taking and collecting data.
Also, high school Principal Vince Vanderlip told the board that the 11th-grade Regents English language art scores for the district had dropped dramatically. In a student population of 155, 10 percent fewer students passed in 2011-12 than the year before, with a 20 percent reduction in those students achieving mastery level. Vanderlip noted that the high school English program has been readjusted this year.
“We have different [teachers] in there now,” he said.