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Dear MSPA Members,
The following is aLetter to the Editor written by retired MSPA lobbyistRalph Maves and published by the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Sunday, April 28. Ralph continuesto be actively engaged in advocating for the students we serve. His letter advocates in favor of eliminating high-stakes graduation testing in Minnesota and is in support of provisionsin the current House and Senate versions of Omnibus Education Bill, specifically Educational Expectations and Graduation Requirements for Minnesota’s students.
Thank you, Ralph, for your letter to the editor copied below.
Drop High-Stakes GRAD Tests
Last year, a working group on assessment and accountability was formed by the Minnesota commissioner of education. One of the recommendations of that group was to eliminate passage of high-stakes tests for graduation. The vote was 26 to 2. This action would be such a positive measure for our Minnesota students.
There are currently 24 states that require passage of high-stakes tests to graduate; 26 do not. Those that do not include Wisconsin, Iowa and the Dakotas. There is no research that indicates that students from those states that do have such a requirement do better after high school in college and/or careers than those that do not. Massachusetts and Texas, which do have high-stakes testing, did studies to see if they reduced remedial courses in college. They did not.
We tell students not to drop out of school, for they will limit their futures and that of society. Some listen; many do not. Then, there is another group of students who find school more of a struggle than many of their classmates because of reading difficulties or a variety of other problems. However, they are highly motivated and directed and successfully reach the end of their senior year, only to be denied a diploma because they cannot pass a test that itself is suspect. How short-sighted.
As Martha Foote, director of research for the New York Performance Standards Consortium, so aptly stated: "A single test can prevent a student from receiving a high-school diploma and building a viable future, yet the test itself may be a meaningless measure of present achievement or future performance."
Ralph D. Maves,
The writer is a school psychologist.
Currently, House and Senate staff areengaged in the process of doing side by sidesto highlight similarities and differences in the two bills. (The bill numbers are HF 630 and SF 453).
Staff involved include:
In the House: Representatives Marquart, Mariani, Brynaert, Morgan, and Urdahl. (Urdahl is the only Republican)
In the Senate: Senators Wiger, Stumpf, Johnson (A),Torres Ray and Dahle. (There are no Republicans since none voted for the Senate education bill).
The first conference committee meeting is scheduled for Friday, May 10, at 8 am in Room 10 of the State Office Building.
We encourage you to be in contact with your legislators regarding the elimination of the GRAD tests and any other items in the bills you feel strongly about. Make your voice heard!
Links provided below:
SF 453 120B.02 EDUCATIONAL EXPECTATIONS AND GRADUATION
44.10 REQUIREMENTS FOR MINNESOTA'S STUDENTS.
HF 630 120B.023 BENCHMARKS.
32.6 Subdivision 1. Benchmarks implement, supplement statewide academic
Marilyn Leifgren, Legislative Co-Chair
Sally Baas, Legislative Co-Chair and NASP President-Elect
Dan Hyson, NASP Delegate
Ralph Maves, retired MSPA Lobbyist