By Sue Moore
“Parents, the public and our taxpayers, want to know how their public schools are doing,” says Dave Campbell, the newly appointed Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency (KRESA) superintendent. “They are highly interested in comparisons. It’s all about having the data in understandable form and being able to compare apples to apples,” Campbell asserted.
“The U.S. has had 50 different assessments since ‘No Child Left Behind’. We live in a global economy now and it’s impossible to tell how our students are doing compared to those in other countries. Education is not what our grandparents were used to,” he said.
Campbell contends that Common Core is not a Federal mandated program, since 45 states have chosen to join and adhere to standards set by the two consortiums of educators.
Michigan joined the Smarter Balance group, along with a majority of other states, to adhere to the testing instruments they set forth. The other test is called PARCC and is very similar in nature so it will be possible to compare across 45 states, once 2015 rolls around,” he said.
“They test a higher level of writing and critical thinking. I believe that schools got gamed with No Child Left Behind. It has been the laughing stock,” Campbell said. At the least the MEAP test in Michigan, has been quite strong compared to what many other states had as their standards to be tested he implied.
Some members of the Michigan legislature are trying to derail the assessment system that its own Department of Education has developed using Smarter Balance as its assessment tool by withholding funding. The school districts are moving forward on their own to implement the higher standards, according to the Vicksburg and Schoolcraft superintendents.
Whatever happens, will largely mean that the MEAP test will be given in 2013, just as it has been, until the money is there to go with the apples to apples test that has been developed by the Smarter Balance consortium.