Pressure mounts to save SBAC

Lobbyists are working overtime to pressure lawmakers to continue funding the Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBAC).    MIRS News Service reports,

“A coalition of around 40 education and business groups are putting on a “full court” press to get the Smarter Balanced assessment for K-12 schools funded for the coming 2014-15 school year.

Education Trust-Midwest, a non-profit funded by a variety of different foundations, is locking arms with Business Leaders for Michigan, the Detroit Chamber of Commerce and other groups to lobby legislators to fund the test for the coming school year. “

Thankfully, there are lawmakers who are pushing back.  Rep. Tom McMillin (R-Rochester) is speaking out about the “bully” tactics of the lobbyists.  He earned the Quote of the Day spot on the MIRS website,
“(T)hey’re going to try to bully the legislature into passing something that might help big business crank out what human resources says they need out of our public education school system.”

Melanie Kurdys is outraged that lobbyists would force this upon Michigan students.   In an email to concerned citizens she wrote,

“It is offensive to me that hired guns are out to lobby our legislators to push an unproven, offensive education system on OUR children.  Parents, grandparents and grassroots citizens around the state have made it clear that we do not want Common Core imposed on our children and our schools.
These business groups make claims they can not prove.  Do they honestly believe parents and teachers would not whole-heartedly embrace well-founded educational strategies that really will improve student learning?”

The push for SBAC is not just coming from lobbyist.  State Superintendent Flanagan told Brian Smith at MLive,

“If we don’t have Smarter Balanced, we won’t have a test,” Flanagan said. “The MEAP is not an option. We couldn’t even re-gear that up in time.”

McMillin claims Flanagan is being “disingenuous or flat out lying.”

“He knows darn well that if they wanted to get the MEAP ready for next spring, they could,” McMillin said. “They’ve known since last year that this was a possibility. There are 24 hours in a day. It can get done. He and MDE may not want to get it done. They may not like the legislature exercising its appropriation authority. But if, in the private sector, he said ‘it can’t get done,’ he’d be fired.”

Clearly, the “House of Common Core” that Gates and the feds built is crumbling but rather than admit their mistake and repeal it, state officials appear to be relying on lies and lobbyists to keep it going.  State officials are doubling down and once again choosing DC and special interests over the desires of parents and teachers.

Michigan cannot afford to let lobbyists drown out our voice with and cede control of our tests to special interests and DC oversight.  Parents, teachers, and concerned citizens must speak up!   Contact your lawmakers and tell them to stop the funding for Smarter Balanced Assessments.