One of the most complex and complicated pieces of the education pie deals with standards and assessments.  It is an area that is very technical and requires significant research to get right..  And the process is extremely time-consuming.

It is a field that I readily admit I know virtually nothing about.  And from the observations of those who do, apparently Mike Sentance is also seriously challenged when trying to sort it all out.

Now, it matters little that I don’t know how it all works because I am not making decisions that impact 730,000 students.  But in the case of our state school chief, it matters a LOT.  Like REALLY, REALLY a lot.  Because decisions he renders do impact our children.

And those I know and trust about such things tell me Sentance is playing games.

You see, you must first have standards before you can assess how well students are doing in meeting them.  The Feds require assessment to be aligned with our standards.  If you don’t follow this sequence, you are wasting time and money–and lives.

So here we are in the Aug. 10 work session talking about changing our state standards.  BUT, Mike Sentance says that he is anxious to get out a new RFP to find a new state assessment tool.  To assess what?  The standards we now have?  Standards he hopes to come up with in the future?  What?

It’s like a football coach preparing a game plan–but he doesn’t know which team he will be playing?

First of all, one of my sources, who has many years in this field and has a doctorate to boot, says that just putting together a good Request For Proposals (RFP) is a difficult and time-consuming task.  According to them, “Everybody who is not in this field seems to think that anything can be done quickly and implemented without any repercussions if short cuts are taken.  That is crazy.”

A veteran superintendent chimes in, “Anyone who watched this work session saw what was going on.  Sentance obviously knew that he was going to have to explain why he plans to put out an RFP on assessment without any clarity of what standards will look like.  So he dodged the issue by giving everyone a lesson on the history of Common Core. 

“Evidently he is again going to disrespect rank and file educators by asking them to participate in a process to review/re-write our standards and adopt a new assessment (apparently the plan is to do this concurrently given that the Scantron Assessment is scheduled for use for one year.)  I suspect he has a template in mind already for standards and an assessment to match.  We will not participate in a process that appears to be collaborative on its face–but has a predetermined outcome.  It is just another version of the old shell game.”

And the governor wants our school kids to continue to be guinea pigs while Sentance plays his games?