In this newsletter:
1) Upcoming events
2) HB1202 – Can you call your legislators?
3) What I learned about TCAP?
4) Opt Out guides
5) Featured education leader – Alex Kacsh

Thanks to Peggy Robertson I will be a panelist on the PBS show, Studio 12 this Wednesday
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Studio 12 is a one hour live TV�talk show on PBS/Colorado Public Television, channel 12
TOPIC: Standardized Tests: Do They Work?
FORMAT: Studio 12 is a live round table discussion. We also invite viewers to engage in the conversation by giving us a call 303-296-1253303-296-1253.

Denver Student Union
March 3rd 4pm, Capitol Steps
Our Facebook event page
Sign our petition:
(Read Alex’s letter below)

United Opt Out Denver Conference, March 28-30th, Auraria Campus

Capitol Watch
HB 1202
URGENT!  We need your help!  
Here is a link to a webpage that will allow you to send a message directly to all members of the House Education Committee and other key decision makers.  HB14-1202, including the strike below, the bill to STUDY COSTS AND BENEFITS OF STANDARDIZED TESTING, ALLOW PARENTAL RIGHT OF REFUSAL AND EXTEND A HOLD HARMLESS YEAR FOR TEACHERS is receiving a hearing and a vote.  The study commissions an unbiased, representative group of stakeholders.  WE MUST GET THE BILL OUT OF COMMITTEE.  Please click on the link,  fill in the form, add your comments, and SUBMIT.  The email will go individually to each legislator from your email address.  Please feel free to pass this webpage url to others who support this MISSION.

In 1997, I was in the first cohort of fourth grade teachers to administer the Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) the state-wide standardized test. It was after I administered the test and especially after my students test results were returned that I began questioning CSAP: how was it developed, who was grading the answers, and what were the motives behind using a single measurement tool to make important judgments about schools, students, and teachers.

  • The testing contract with McGraw Hill, CSAP and TCAP publisher was a closed contract and completely concealed from the public. Meaning McGraw Hill would be holding public schools accountable while having no transparency or public accountability.
  • Since the test was first administered in 1997, CSAP or TCAP has never been independently audited or evaluated for validity or reliability. There is absolutely no evidence to support these tests as valid.
  •  The results of CSAP/TCAP dramatically conflict with the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), a national test that has been administered since 1969 to a statistically significant sample of students in every state. NAEP is administered by the National Council for Education Statistics (NCES) and is not-for-profit.
  •  Grading of CSAP/TCAP is contracted through temporary service agencies. Graders receive an evening of training. No education experience or certification is required of these graders and they grade hundreds of student responses over the course of a shift. Their inexperienced evaluation of a single sampling of a student’s work under high pressure conditions, carries more weight than a body of evidence, collected over the course of a school year, and evaluated by a professional educator.
  •  McGraw Hill sold the McGraw-Hill Education business to investment funds affiliated with Apollo Global Management, LLC in early 2013 for $2.5 billion. Months later the department of Justice filed fraud charges against McGraw Hill Financial.
  • Testing was promised to close the achievement gap and better prepare students for college and careers. Since high-stakes testing began, the outcomes have been disastrous as reflected in college remediation rates, increases of at-risk students, and the growing opportunity divide between wealthy and low-income students.

Despite these negative outcomes, nearly every year the Colorado Legislature and the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) have expanded testing, reordered the shaded bubbles and re-written the standards. Since high-stakes testing “reform” began Colorado has adopted three versions of standards (HB98-1267, SB09-212, and Common Core); three different states tests (CSAP, TCAP, and beginning next year PARCC) and the stakes associated with these tests are constantly being increased.

Click here for test refusal sample letters and to better understand your rights

Featured Education Leader: Alex Kacsh

Dear education activists and supporters:

For the last twelve years, No Child Left Behind and Race To The Top have created a standardized education that fails to prepare students for the responsibilities of life after high school. On March 3rd at 4pm, the Denver Student Union will be hosting a press conference, the State of the Student Address, declaring our frustrations with our current education system and stating what we, the students, want to see changing in our schools. We will be hosting this event on the west steps of the Colorado State Capitol building, and we hope you will join us to listen to what students need in our education.

As citizens of Colorado, we would like to see the end of statewide “high stakes” standardized testing and put the funds and efforts into creating a holistic education that prepares students for their civic responsibilities, which allows we, the students, to pursue our individual passions, and give us a voice in our curriculum as well as our schools.

Please join us on March 3rd at the first annual State of the Student address as the students of Colorado declare our message for education.

Thank you,
Alex Kacsh