A routine Springville-Griffith School Board vote this week to approve the district’s teacher assessment program spawned a broader debate among board members on potential problems with such programs and with standardized testing of students.
Board member Kara Kane cast the lone dissenting vote Tuesday as the board voted, 4-1, to pass the measure.
“This doesn’t mean I’m against testing or standards, but I think there’s a better way to assess students and teachers,” she said.
Board member Joan Kelly agreed in concept with Kane but said she didn’t think the state Education Department would listen to board members. Rather, the “revolution” to oppose testing and utilizing the results to assess teachers should come from parents and taxpayers, she said.
Other board members expressed fatigue over the growing crusade against testing.
“I’m getting tired of hearing about teaching to the test. Should we be going back to 1960 where everyone wants to do what they want to do?” Stephen Schunk asked.
Jon Einarsson called Kane’s no vote a “dereliction of duty” because school boards are required by law to approve an annual professional performance review program for their district.
Board Vice President Delia Bonenberger, sitting in for President Mel Williams, said stricter oversight on core teaching has enhanced education, not harmed it.
“In the old days, it was not perfect. Teachers taught too much of what they wanted and not what was needed. Overall, I think schools are improving,” Bonenberger said.
The board also held a budget hearing Tuesday. Business Administrator Ted Welch said the proposed $34.9 million budget for 2013-14, which calls for a 1 percent tax levy increase, is reasonable. Since 2008, the average levy increase in the district has been 0.74 percent.
“No one can say that the current and past board members haven’t been good caretakers of the tax holders’ dollars,” the business administrator said.
Going forward, maintaining the sustainability of the district should be emphasized, he said.