Many of you have probably seen the news that yesterday the state board voted to exit their affiliation with the SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium). This action by the state board vote of 12-3 is wonderful news and a victory for our cause when just a few months ago the board voted 4-10 to NOT leave the SBAC. Thank you Utah State School Board.
Now we just have to follow several steps including getting permission from the federal government to leave this consortium and it’s a done deal. Glad the feds aren’t trying to control the states or anything…
After the board vote, mathematician Ze’ev Wurman wrote:
“Congratulations to Utah!!! The first domino to fall from the Common Core bandwagon! Not only will Utah be able to offer extra 15%, but it can shift content across grades. It can even — perish the thought — offer authentic algebra in eighth grade!”
I believe Ze’ev is correct and we could reform and raise the standards to our own desire if there was the desire within the state to actually adopt the very best in standards. This has always been our goal.
However, not all is well with this decision. It turns out that the Utah State Office of Education signaled board members that it was OK for them to leave SBAC because their work with SBAC is essentially done. They are now writing a very narrow RFP (request for proposal to get bids) that only an SBAC affiliated vendor would be able to fully satisfy. This information comes from within the USOE where someone has informed us that the move to drop SBAC was just a ruse to settle things down. USOE has no desire to work with other vendors since they had a hand in the SBAC work. There is no purpose in other vendors submitting a proposal under these circumstances because USOE will award it to the SBAC vendor. If you know of other assessment vendors, please let them know they should protest to the USOE that it is patently unfair to stack the deck in favor of the SBAC. This is not the first time USOE has played favorites with vendors or grants.