The Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School Board on Tuesday joined a growing chorus of voices opposed to high-stakes testing for schoolchildren.
On the heels of last Wednesday’s Summit for Smarter Schools, which drew more than 2,500 parents, teachers and school administrators to Kleinhans Music Hall, the board voted unanimously to approve a resolution calling on the state to “stop its overreliance on standardized tests as a measure of student performance and principal/teacher effectiveness.”
The action was applauded by most of the approximately 30 people at the board’s regular meeting in Hoover Elementary School.
The resolution also calls on federal officials “to reduce federal testing mandates and support the role of and focus on multiple measures of student learning and school quality in accountability systems.”
Board President Bob Dana, who attended the summit with Vice President Stephen Brooks, however, cautioned that the board does not endorse a movement by parents to have their children “opt out” of standardized tests. Doing so could jeopardize the district’s state funding and its efforts to no longer be classified by the state as a “focus district,” which requires extra oversight, he said.
“We do not want to in any way, shape or form prolong that designation,” Dana said.
The resolution, which will be sent to state and federal education officials, also had the support of School Superintendent Mark P. Mondanaro, who suggested the state adopt “testing alternatives” in place of the standardized tests.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting:
• Mondanaro submitted the results of a study on the possible sale of three non-instructional buildings – the former Philip Sheridan Elementary School and maintenance and administration buildings on Colvin Avenue. His hypothetical cost-benefit analysis, however, found the project would result in a net loss of $6.1 million due mostly to the cost of moving personnel elsewhere.
The board had asked its leadership team to get appraisals on the buildings after numerous district residents suggested it as an alternative to closing schools in the consolidation process.
• Dana commended the use Monday of the district’s “E-alert” system for notifying district residents about the school lockdown and delayed dismissals due to the standoff with Joseph Hollywood, who died in a fire he set in his Fries Road home near Kenmore East High School.