Tag Archives: special education

Idaho Dept. of Ed: We know the SBAC might not be valid, but insist that it is tied to certification and compensation anyways

SDE logoRecently, I inquired to ISDE’s Director of Assessment and Accountability about Idaho’s recent decision to give the SBAC to sophomores this year instead of juniors; I thought this decision was problematic due to the fact that the SBAC includes questions from 11th grade Common Core Standards in both English Language Arts and Mathematics.

However, I was shocked during this exchange when the Director told me that the decision was due to the fact the state was worried students wouldn’t take the test seriously, and they didn’t want their data set tainted…because, you know, then the results wouldn’t be valid.

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Value Added Model (VAM) and Proposed Tiered Licensure: Are SpEd Students and Their Teachers Valued?

“For movement to a Professional Certificate and
maintenance of a Professional Certificate: At least three
assessments must be used in demonstration of a
teacher’s student achievement. Of those three, the Idaho
Reading Indicator [IRI] and the Statewide standards
achievement test must be included as applicable. Student
Learning Objectives, including pre and post assessment
for student learning must be included for non-tested (SBA
IRI) subjects. Other measures shall be chosen at the
district level, selected from the attached list. The majority
of student achievement evaluation shall be based on
student growth” (58).

That’s what the proposed rule change requires for an educator to move from a residency certificate to a professional certificate, or for an educator to maintain a professional certificate and not be stripped of that certification and be placed on a quasi-probationary contingent certificate.

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ISDE: Why the Lost Love Over SBAC?

ISATRecently Idaho State Department of Education Chief of staff, Luci Willits, declared in an interview with Idaho Ed News that the state is rebranding the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) as the “ISAT 2.0.”

I have a problem with this name-change for a variety of reasons.  I sent a letter laying out my concern about the name change to Ms. Willits.  My letter, in full, is below. Continue reading

Response to OpEd Criticism: Square Root of Stupid

Recently my OpEd critiquing the logic of tying federal special education reimbursement dollars was published in the Idaho Press Tribune.  As with its publication in Idaho Education News it was generally well received.

However, I did receive several messages from special education advocates arguing that special education students are capable of performing at academic proficiency and thus schools should be held accountable via Duncan’s plan to withhold the purse-strings of federal coffers for districts who are not proficient under revised guidelines for special education reimbursement.

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The Square Root of Stupid

StupidRecently National Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced that the federal government will be changing the way in which it allocates federal money for special education services to states.  Secretary Duncan wants to tie test scores for special education to the amount of money a state receives from the federal government for reimbursement of special education services.

The logic is simple:  states that send back high special education student test scores will get more money, those with lower scores will get less or even no money.  Surely this will improve student learning, right?  Clearly No Child Left Behind’s (NCLB) emphasis of tying student test scores to federal money was a major success!  Cloning NCLB tools for special education students sounds like a real winner.

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Superintendent Luna’s Response to Concern over Tiered Teaching Certification Proposal

LunaSuperintendent Tom Luna replied back to me regarding my recent OpEd article which laid out my concern about the proposed tiered teacher certification and value added model.

I do have a follow up commentary planned for his response soon, but for today I’ll let him speak for himself.  His response, in full, is below. Continue reading

Will they Respond?

By Levi B Cavener

why-you-no-replyDuring last year’s legislative session I sent dozens of emails to various state representatives and senators.

I understand that the session is a marathon of sorts with in incredible amount of work to be accomplished in a very short period of time.  I also get that during this time legislators are inundated with phone calls and emails from citizens across the state.

In other words, I get that they’re busy.  Yet, I was flabbergasted when I didn’t receive a single response from a single representative or senator.  None.  Zip.
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