Board chair urges School Board to consider CDE testing waiver | SteamboatToday.com

Board chair urges School Board to consider CDE testing waiver

Union member questions board chair's recent lunch meeting

Teresa Ristow

— Steamboat Springs School Board Chair Roger Good urged the board Monday to work quickly when considering whether to apply for a state waiver that could allow the district to opt out of some standardized testing.

The Colorado State Board of Education voted 4-3 last Thursday to allow districts to apply for a waiver for a portion of the PARCC, or Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, tests in English and math scheduled to begin in March.

Whether the state board has the authority to allow such a waiver and whether waivers will be granted by the state education commissioner is still in question, but Good said applying for the waiver and showing that the Steamboat Springs School District is in favor of less testing is something the board should consider.

Good said he knew of about 15 to 20 other districts across the state currently talking about whether to apply for the waiver, and he said that if a large number of districts pursued the waiver, it could send a message to the state, regardless of if the waiver actually is granted.

"We need to move quickly," Good said.

The School Board plans to hold a special meeting prior to a Jan. 26 work session to discuss and vote on whether to instruct Superintendent Brad Meeks to apply for the waiver.

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If awarded, the waiver could potentially allow third to eighth grade students to opt out of PARCC assessments scheduled to take place between March 9 and April 3.

Meeks said the logistics of the waiver would be discussed in a district administrative meeting this week. He agreed to keep the board in the loop of the discussions and work to answer any questions the board might have about the issue.

Standardized testing is expected to be a substantial topic during the 2015 Colorado legislative session, and a state Standards and Assessments Task Force is scheduled to report on legislative recommendations for testing reform by the end of January.

Teacher questions lunch meeting:

A representative from the Steamboat Springs Education Association questioned Steamboat Springs School Board Chair Roger Good during Monday's meeting about a recent lunch outing he had with board presidents from Jeffco Public Schools, Douglas County School District, Thompson School District and Adams 12 Five Star Schools.

High school teacher and bargaining team member Deirdre Boyd said the other districts’ representatives at the meeting are known statewide for having a political agenda that includes the desire to privatize schools and take away teacher bargaining rights.

"We just wanted to articulate that we find it disturbing to see our own school board president affiliated with them," Boyd said. "I wanted to put that out there and have the conversation."

The lunch meeting at a Mexican restaurant in Lakewood was photographed by a union representative from another district and others, and posted on the blog http://www.coloradopols….

Good said the discussions at the Jan. 8 meeting were primarily about a CDE testing waiver the State Board of Education voted in favor of the same day. Other conversations were about tax increment financing and $14 million in state education funding yet to be distributed from last year, Good said.

"I've had similar conversations with other districts from other counties," said Good, who is the current board representative on the district’s bargaining team.

Boyd said while she appreciated Good's response during the board meeting, she still found the lunch meeting and photo concerning.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

Teacher questions lunch meeting:

A representative from the Steamboat Springs Education Association questioned Steamboat Springs School Board Chair Roger Good during Monday’s meeting about a recent lunch outing he had with board presidents from Jeffco Public Schools, Douglas County School District, Thompson School District and Adams 12 Five Star Schools.

High school teacher and bargaining team member Deirdre Boyd said the other districts’ representatives at the meeting are known statewide for having a political agenda that includes the desire to privatize schools and take away teacher bargaining rights.

“We just wanted to articulate that we find it disturbing to see our own school board president affiliated with them,” Boyd said. “I wanted to put that out there and have the conversation.”

The lunch meeting at a Mexican restaurant in Lakewood was photographed by a union representative from another district and others, and posted on the blog http://www.coloradopols….

Good said the discussions at the Jan. 8 meeting were primarily about a CDE testing waiver the State Board of Education voted in favor of the same day. Other conversations were about tax increment financing and $14 million in state education funding yet to be distributed from last year, Good said.

“I’ve had similar conversations with other districts from other counties,” said Good, who is the current board representative on the district’s bargaining team.

Boyd said while she appreciated Good’s response during the board meeting, she still found the lunch meeting and photo concerning.