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tv   [untitled]    February 11, 2012 4:30am-5:00am EST

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i think that finds the balance, senator paul, that i think those of house consider ourselves conservative are looking for is what is the proper role of the federal government here. the u.s. constitution is silent when it comes to education. so the tenth amendment says it's left to the states. my constitution at the state level is very specific that i have a responsibility to the provide a uniform thorough system of common public schools. so i think there are some who on then panel who think if the federal government does not mandate something, the states will not do it. i think our actions speak otherwise. ten years ago, we had a law, before no child left behind, we had federal laws that required standards and assessments for all the students. 39% had opted out of it. today we have states on their own without any mandate from the federal government have the adopted a standard comparable to any academic in the world. we're moving towards assessments that will be less intrusive and
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more informative and have put forth a plantar an accountability system that is even a higher level of accountability than the current no child left behind requires. i don't think it's an accurate portrayal of the attitudes of states today to move forward with a bill that is based on the premise if the federal government doesn't mandate, states will not do that. states have demonstrated they're more than willing and on their own vin adopted a higher standard and level of accountability. >> thank you. >> quickly. >> in listening miss niece it, i think kentucky must be a little ahead of the ball game as far as trying to close these achievement gasp. when we see these gasp, that does mean something needs to be done. that's the problem actually. we're working very hard at closing these gasp. i also agree with her that the esa and no child left behind have helped of tremendously. the majority of the special ed
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students as she was say. many of those students are able to work at grade level. the ones i was referring to were those that are not capable, no matter what we do with those students. no matter what interventions we use, they are not -- they're identified because they are not capable of working at grade level. and they should be assessed according to their eeps rather than according to the assessment. >> they fall into that 1% category. >> that depends on your numbers in your district. we never have been the number in our district to wall into that 1% sop we, they go in with our regular accountability. while i do have this mic, i want to emphasize what mr. hess said as far as funding. that is so very important. i don't think that more funding is the answer by any means to education. the answer is to get funding channelled in the right
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direction. there's an awful lot of waste in education funding. there needs to be more flexibility. and as far as the use of funds. >> very good. lastly, i'm going to going to senator isakson. >> thank you. three very quick points on testing, turn around and the urgency of passing the bill. on testing, senator paul brings up the point that in this country, there are schools and systems that have become too my yopcally focused on tests at the one indicator. we haven't seen a good organization drive progress without a set of measurable goals driving progress every day. we've gone too far in the direction of one test. this bill includes components to look at things like innot only high school completion rates and the percentage of kids going to college without remediation. that's one point. secondly, on turn arounds, i must say i think the -- i do
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think that from my perspective, the capacity to turn around low income schools is very limited in this country. i don't believe just from a practical perspective we've got the capacity to turn around more than a fairly low percentage of the most low achieving schools. while i agree with -- my concern is on the achievement gap schools. i was a public school kid. my kids are going to public schools. a lot of public schools around the country are serving many kids well. those schools aren't going to improve for the kids in greatest need if there's not some press to improve that. that's an area for focus. third and lastly, i would just say on the urgency of this bill overall, this is a race against technology. it's a race against the economy. you know, one piece of data that strikes meese is in 1973, there were only a quarter of jobs in the united states than required
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some postsecondary education. a quarter. in a few years, two-thirds of the jobs in the united states will require post education education. we were once first in the world in college and high school completion rates. we've slipped to 15th. not because we've gotten worse, we've stayed the same. i think we don't have the luxury of sitting around. i think the leadership you're providing here to move this is important. i think kids and educators and teachers are not looking for prescription from washington, but they're looking for leadership from washington. i salute your efforts to provide that here. >> senator isaac con, thank you for your patience. >> i want to thank all the guests that have been here to testify today. as i always do when educators are present, i learn something. you've all had great input today into the conversation. i know miss nas and mr. thomas
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have been exproposed themself on the idea of special assessment of special education kids. i'd like to asking account lead special needs teachers, is that not correct, miss denks? one of the things i have been an advocate of is some flexibility in the assessment of special needs children in, particular, they propose that rather than having a narrow limited waiver for cognitive disability, we allow the iep to determine the assessment vehicle that the special education child is subject to because that's the one time you have the parent, teacher and school present making a decision for that child in terms of how you're going to measure the progress of that dmild that next year. i'd like to have miss denks and mr. seton comments on that. >> i agree with you. i think the iep process is great at getting everyone together and focusing on the one student. when we come to assessing based on state or national standards,
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we forget that individualized part of the individualized educatal plan. at my school we're constantly battling between the states and their iep which does address the skills they need in order to function after they're done with the public school system. unfortunately, a lot of times those two documents aren't working together. we're using a lot of our time to figure out that balancing game. as far as assessing students with special needs, i think it's essentialing whether i think an alternative assessment is great. note in maryland, we had the typical assess thamt most students took and we also have an alternative assessment. for a while we also had a modified assessment for the students that fell outside of that 1% but still were not able to complete grade level work. and they are doing away with that. i'm not sure of the policies with that. but as far as assessing students with special needs, i think that
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our students have enough obstacles and for us to be another one saying they can't do, i think that's such a disservice to them. we need to continue to provide an effective assessment. i think that can be determined at various levels. with the iep process we think do that can -- we can assess students based on the iep and we may be serving them better. the an our school, we went through a process where we created an assessment. we got a waiver from our district assessments and created an assessment to look at our students' continuous progress. that's the exactly phrase we use. it took us about a year where we're continually looking at student progress as it treats that students capabilities. so we're not holding them to some standard that someone else told us to. we're looking at what the student is able to do throughout the school year based on they have been able to do and what we hope to push them to do in the
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future. >> would you please, if you get a chance, allow the committee to have the maryland that you're using? i'd love to see what you've developed. >> sure. that's just at our school level. i think that autonomy was fantastic because we were able to go through a process that taught our entire school staff so much about our students and our staff needs and coming away from that process, we have a much greater appreciation for how difficult it is to create an assessment. and so we applaud people for doing that. but i can certainly share that with you. >> thank you very much. mr. seton? snoopy dop agree also that the iep is a great place to start with using it as a driver for assessment. one of the things that's happening in tennessee now is we have guidelines that are set for alternative assessments. and what i've found in my classroom is i try to make sure that i do a thorough evaluation of the records. and try to find anything that
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will allow me to use alternative assessments if that individual needs it. if they don't, i continue to use the tennessee standards that we have. a little more work for me, but i outline those things that i believe are necessary at the time. so i stay in compliance nationally to make sure that i'm meeting the special ed requirements but i also so you're looking at an iep inside of an iep. you have a set of standards that it says that regulatory standards that we have to have that are grade level functions but then i have another set that functions that are necessary for that young person to be successful enough to want to go to the next level and then move forward. >> i thank you both. i don't have time to go to another subject except to say dr. lunena, idaho is doing a great thing by engaging parents more in the education of children. i know in your pay for
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performance, the patients have some say in that merit-based system. i commend what you all are doing very much. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. carom. >> i'd like to asking miss niece to involve yourself in that last discussioning with mr. seaton and police danks. >> what my two colleagues have described is exactly what's appropriate and available under current law. under the individuals with disabilities cakes act, an essential decision that each child's iep team needs to make and the iep team includes the child's parents of which assessment is appropriate to that child. does the child take an alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards? does the child take the regular assessment with or without an accommodation for modification? that is something that's currently required under ieda. what my two colleagues just described is exactly what's supposed to happen pr r. for those kids on alternate achievement standards, you have
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to design something appropriate to that child. those kids are on a unique place where they are not on grade level. i often time call them act of god kids. short of an act of god, these kids are never going to be on grade level. doesn't matter how much their mother loved them, what they had for breakfast, how many books were in their home, they're not going to be on grade level. they need a different measure but they need to make progress. someone needs to be making sure that this year, they learned more than they learned last year. and whatever it is to that child is what we need to have continue. so there's nothing in the law that says for those -- that what my concern is is when you put kids who don't belong in that category of kids with the most significant cognitive disabilities when kids who are outside of that are put in that -- >> i think there's some confusion if i might flerpt. there's a 1% rule that says that
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schools can automatically i guess, if that's the right word, automatically take up to 1% of kids who are in ieps? >> what the law says is that up to 1% of kids, all kids which roughly translates to about 10% of kids with disabilities can have their progress measured on an alternate achievement standard. al iter nat assessment based on alternate achieve. standards. what the current regulation is lous is that states can count those 10% of kids and the 1% as proficient there's nothing that says states can't give more tests, can't assess more kids but they can't count them as proficient outside of that 1%. and that's what we're seeing in a number of states where they're giving more than 1% of the kids are taking this alternate achievement standard. that's where our concern is. we think too many kids are being
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inappropriately played in that 1% but we absolutely believe that there are kids who are appropriate to that 1%. >> do you disagree with that, miss denks? >> yop disagree. but i know something i've seen so that other percentage we've been talking about, not the students with the most severe disabilities. a lot of times when the parents come to the meetings they say i don't want my kid to be taking that test so we'll opt out because this testing and assessing has gotten so out of control. the parents see it's out of control and don't want their child participating in it. i know we sometimes there is a lot of pressure from the parents to exclude the student from that general assessment just because of the stigma attached with that. i agree that's an issue. i'm not sure if 1% is the magic number. we're talking about states' rights versus the federal government. i'm not sure if 1% is the correct number. i'm not sure if there is a
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correct number. i do know that's something to be considered. just to go back to the or question, i think that a huge component we're missing with this 1% are the life skill standards so that we could use the iep which are those academic standards and some life skill standards but there are no state -- there's not a requirement that states have those life skill standards. some states do and some states don't. but seeing that, i think it's a huge disservice to these students. we're not preparing them for what happens for most of them when they're 21 years old and they exit the public school system. we're not doing a good job of getting them ready into i think this whole notion of life skills is so important. and i don't know the answer but it may be an idea issue and what's appropriate to that child and not necessarily an esea issue. so i just wanted to raise that. >> plaintiff seaton. >> yes, for tennessee, we have built in a way to kind of catch
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some of that 1%. young people that have a certain iq score, we use that as a baseline. if they are ample functioning close to, they are not allowed to be placed in that alternative assessment bracket. so one of the things that you know, people who want to opt out are not able to do that just based on the fact that they're young people or you believe that this will be better for your scores. i'm sorry. could i just add one thing? i think the problem we're falling into too is there's either an alternative or what everyone else does. children fall in a lot of spots between those twos extremes. so i'm not sure exactly how it's worded in the law, but the idea of continuous progress can mean a student takes an assessment and score 30% in this month. and then they score 35% the next month. that's continuous progress. for some of our students who don't fall in that 1% and also not performing at or above grade
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level, that's still a way for that student to show they're making continuous progress and for the school to demonstrate they are providing the instruction that enables that continuous progressing. >> senator franken. >> that's kind of a good jumping off point for my -- where i want comments from. and it's about computer adaptive testing. because -- and to what extent does this certainly in terms of special ed kids and measuring growth. i want to -- i've been struck by some of mr. luna talked about growth model. and i know mr. luna is concerned with gifted kids and i know that from teachers i've talked to in minnesota, the way the testing has been done in no child left behind is what percentage of kids exceed a certain arbitrary
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benchmark of proficiency. and so you can take those gifted kids and you nope that kid's going to be proficiency no matter what you do to that kid so they ignore the kid. and i think smiz gezzalhart, geisel hart talked about that, as well. and miss danks. you talked about computer adaptive testing. i want to follow, you to follow up on that if you like. mr. thomas, you talked about a growth model and why a growth model is so important. and plaintiff hess before he left was talking about just how kids are progressing during the year. and you can do that with a computer adaptive test because
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you can take it multiple times during the year. instead of what we've been doing which is giving a test at the end of april and the results come back and they're autopsies. and mr. scheur you talked about the importance of doing it beyond one test and the thing with a computer adaptive test you can take it multiple times over the year and you can measure growth. so i just kind of would like anyone or who wants to talk about -- see any downside to the computer adaptive tests. and we've made it one thing we've done is paid it voluntary. i mean, that's one of the federalism issues that we've responded to is i think -- i think every state should have computer adaptive tests but i deliberately said this is something you can do. may do. you're allowed to do.
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so does anyone have any feelings about that. >> i'd like to take a quick stab at it. i think you're spot on in what you're proposing. i think the infrastructure across the country is very sorely lacking and able to be for schools to be able to do this on a large scale basis. because you just can't march kids into one computer lab in a school in groups of 25 and think you're going to be able to do this. i've worked in school districts where we had computers in every classroom and it was wonderful. teachers could do quick assessments and get information back on really a daily basis. every two weeks or whenever you wanted them to. but i work in the school district now where we don't have that type of infrastructure. >> do you have a computer lab? >> we have a computer lab in most of our schools, but very few of our schools have a computer in every classroom for every child. >> right. but you don't have to all -- not everybody at the school has to take this the same day?
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>> no if we're just talking about special ed students, that may be different. i think this technique you're talking about applies to all students. it makes it that much more difficult for a 3,000 student high school. >> what i'm saying is i don't think all grades can take it the same day. third grade can take it one day or one classroom in third grade can take it one day. as long as you have a computer lab. which i think schools probably should have. >> with all due respect, i'm just saying to you from living it every day, one computer lab in a school would not support the kind of testing model you're talking about. just won't do it. >> in minnesota, they seem to be -- i've talked to schools where they've had one computer lab and they've been able to do this. but maybe they're smaller schools or something. i don't know. >> senator, in -- mr. chairman
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and senator. >> yeah. >> in idaho, we've done computer testing since no child left behind started. we never did the paper and pencil. we could see the writing on the wall and we've done computer tests all the time. in fact, the first tests that we rolled out was an aadaptive test. and it showed growth. and but it you did not then pass muster under no child left behind so we had to take a step backwards. the law that is being considered today is going to allow us to go back to the kind of tests we were doing eight or nine years ago where we could actually measure growth without a floor or i an ceiling so that we could actually see ar a student is performing. i think what you're talking about, senators, right now we have assessments of learning. we give them at the end of the school year. those are great for accountability systems and they help inform instruction somewhat for the next year. what we need are assessments for
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learning where there are assessments less intrusive and they happen during the regular classroom period. i've gone into classrooms before where the -- it's a very high level of enen engagement where children are engaged and there's a lot of learning going on and all of a sudden, the teacher says okay, it's time for the quiz. everybody close your books. it's like somebody sucks the oxygen out of the room. the technology is availableable to capture assessment data during a regular lesson plan while it's being delivered. it means a heavy dose of technology in every classroom, not just one or two computer labs per school. in our state, we've chosen to make heavy investments in technology, not by raising taxes, not by spending more money on education, but by we're willing to spend the money we already have differently. and so i won't go into the details of our technology improvements but they're very expansive and every one of our
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classrooms will have the technology available to do the kind of assessments that you're talking about without relying on rotating kids through a computer lab. >> my only reaction to that, i've seen classrooms where you can immediately, where they do exactly what you're talking about, and that's -- and that's fabulous. what have i'm advocating on computer adaptive tests is one of the aspects exactly what you're talking about which is that the test results if they can be done as the year is going by, they're for learning because the teaches can see what's going on. and use the results for instructi instruction. and i think, ms. danks is probably going to speak to the special ed fact, which is that if you're measuring -- if you're allowed to go outside of grade level, you're able to measure
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growth and that makes the problem we are talking about before, it actually i think addresses it to some extent anyway. which is that if you're at least measuring growth, kids who are below grade level and you can still see that they're learning. >> exactly. >> yeah. >> i think you make a great point. i think that applies to all students, not just students with special needs. seeing continuous growth is going to be much more rich data that the teacher is going to be able to use than that one time in march or april where the school has probably completely stressed out the child to get ready for this assessment. the parents know about it, everybody knows about it and the results don't come back till june. like you said, it's like an autopsy. that much information is not always useful. a lot of times it's given too late. here's the skill we taught in
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september that the student never mastered wish i would have known that in september. i think that testing has become such an event and it comes with so much pressure. and i think like you were saying, it doesn't need to be everybody does it on the same day. it could be two to three kids coming in. some of these kids know how to use a computer better than anybody i know. as far as that being a barrier, even for students with special needs, i don't think that's an issue. our school does work with a partnership board. they've helped us tremendously in raising a great deal of funds. we have several of computers in every classroom. i would encourage schools struggling to reach out to your community partners, byes that are getting rid of computers because then you can implement this in your schools. >> did you have -- mr. scheur? >> quick comment, senator franken, i think you're right to the focus on computer based adaptive assessments. in the future, that's going to be universal education. it's a good example of something
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which you're showing. >> you dishness and not like mandating it. there have been lots of bills where people have said i like this idea and require. i think it's good to support. the one i would say, changing the transparency and the goal requirements and accountability to enable growth and improvement is crucial to help all kids. one thing i think is that at a minimum state setting goals for kids to get some absolute level of performance efficiency, advanced, high school graduation is important. otherwise, we're going to race, make slight improvements but not keep up the race. >> i think we're talking about mandating a certain rate of growth so that by the end of 12th grade, they're ready for college is what we're, the goal is anyway. >> i think that's the right direction. >> i'm not sure -- that's -- i'm not sure how that language is in the bill in terms of mandating that every year, they'll be a
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year of growth. >> plmg seaton, you put your card up. i'm going to going to senator merkley. >> yes, sir, i teach in the orange mile community, the second oldest african-american community in the nation only behind harlem. one of the things when you start looking at technology, we need and we're raising money through our district, but we need the support of the national government in order to fully use technology throughout our system. i believe that the rapid assessments that we can get through those computer based tests will be fabulous for us to use it as an ongoing tool. but i think that we still need to think how long will it take to get that type of technology in every school. and i think that one of the things that was mentioned, the
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common core standards is -- and this is where i believe we need some national leadership. having those common course standards as a base for our national assessment since we're looking at being competitive globally, we need to know where we all are from california to the bottoms of mississippi. >> are you saying, mr. seaton, that there's an inequality of funding for schools based upon their zip code? >> no, sir. >> we should rectify that. >> no, sir, i'm not saying that at all. >> you should be. >> can i read this language just to respond to mr. schnur? it says, if the state chooses to use a student -- use student growth as a measure of academic progress and to determine if students are on track to college and career readiness, a student performing below the on track

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