After being placed on the "right track," it failed in the Senate on March 7 by a vote of 18 Nays; 11 Ayes; 1 Not Voting. Shortly after, Sen. Carlyle Begay brought it up again. (Only senators who voted Nay can do that, which is why Sen. Begay voted Nay.)
So, it can be Reconsidered. The problem is this: Is there anybody who can turn some of those Nays into Ayes?
YES! YOU! See below for the names and contact information of Senators who voted Nay, followed by some Truths that YOU must convey to them, in order to convince them to change their vote.
Click HERE for the Excel File of Senators who Voted Nay. (Sen. Miranda did not vote.) Please contact them via Phone, Facebook, Email, In Person, and Twitter. If you cannot open the file, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will send it to you.
The Truth About Why You Should Support SB1455. (These are prioritized based on the most common objections voiced by senators, and are not necessarily in order of your or my priority.)
1. Standardized tests, including AzMERIT, are not the only assessments given to students throughout the year. In fact, Standardized tests are unreliable in assessing a student’s educational progress. AzMERIT has never been validated or proven to be an indicator of a student’s progress. AzMERIT doesn’t tell us anything about third-grade promotion. AzMERIT is given in the Spring, but the results aren’t available until November, which is three months after the next school year begins! Teachers have no input into Standardized Tests. Teachers aren’t allowed to see the tests. Teachers don’t see their students’ tests, even after they’ve been graded by third parties. Parents don’t see the graded tests. Students don’t see the graded tests. Nobody has any idea what answers were right, and which were wrong!
Better methods of evaluating student needs and progress already exist. Careful observations and documentation of student work and behaviors by trained teachers is more helpful than a one-time test. Assessment based on student performance on real learning tasks is more useful for measuring achievement and provides more information for teaching than multiple-choice achievement tests. Parents working with teachers, term grades, homework performance–these and other indicators are far better than AzMERIT. See How Standardized Testing Damages Education.
2. Even though the U.S. Department of Education has repeatedly threatened to withdraw Title 1 funding to schools that don’t meet the 95% participation in Standardized Assessments, they have never withdrawn it. Not only that, but taking Title I money away from the neediest students in order to punish parents who are boycotting a testing system that is out of control is not defensible. According to a March 2016 statement by the nonprofit National Center for Fair and Open Testing,known as FairTest, parents can opt out of testing without fear that their school will be sanctioned in anyway. Click HERE and HERE.
3. Both the Arizona Education Association as well as the Arizona Association of County School Superintendents are in favor of SB1455. In fact, according to the RTS (virtual Request to Speak) system, 60 people went on record in favor. Only 9 were opposed.
4. Parents who are advised to keep their child(ren) home on testing dates cannot do so, since assessment periods can span as much as 6 weeks. There’s no practical way for parents to simply opt-out in absentia. Click HERE.
5. More and more parents are learning the Truth about Standardized Testing, including AzMERIT, and they are not happy with the senators who know less than they do. These parents are going to the law of the land, the U.S. Constitution. They will continue to REFUSE to submit their children to tests that bind them to federally regulated education and that line the pockets of corporations and their political cronies.
For more Truths, click HERE.