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News Release - Board delays taking action on testing waivers

Feb. 19, 2015

Board delays taking action on testing waivers

Board also passes a motion regarding not holding districts liable for parents' decisions to not allow their children to take PARCC

The Colorado State Board of Education met for its regularly scheduled meeting on Feb. 18 & 19. Highlights from the meeting include:

State Test Waiver Requests

At its Jan. 8 meeting, the state board of education voted 4-3 to pass a motion directing the commissioner of education to grant waivers to local school boards and districts to the performance-based component of the CMAS assessment, if requested by the district. In light of the board’s action, the commissioner requested a formal opinion from the Attorney General’s Office revisiting whether the board has authority to grant a school district a waiver from the state-mandated assessment.

As a result of the state board decision in January, CDE has received 20 waiver requests from various districts.

At the Feb. 18, meeting of the state board of education, the board had an opportunity to discuss the formal opinion with representatives from the Attorney General’s Office.  The board was also presented with the requests received to date for waivers of the performance-based portion of the English language arts and math assessments. 

The board voted to allow continued submissions of waivers by districts and to table any decision on those waivers until the next special or regular meeting of the board.   

In addition, the board adopted a motion to “not hold districts liable for the decisions of parents when these parents decide not to allow their children to take PARCC.”  The effect of this motion is that districts will not be penalized by a lowering of their accreditation rating should their student participation rates fall below 95 percent on the PARCC assessments due to parental refusal of their students to take the PARCC assessments.  To read a letter from Commissioner Hammond to school district superintendents on this topic, click here

Elementary and Secondary Education Act Flexibility Waiver Renewal

Staff updated the board on Colorado’s current Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) waiver which is set to expire at the end of the current school year. The deadline for submitting a request to renew the waiver is March 31, 2015. Staff will bring the proposed ESEA waiver renewal application to the board in March for board action. 

Assessments

Staff informed the board of the cutscore setting process for the state’s new science and social studies high school assessments.  Cutscore recommendations will be brought to the board in March. 

Graduation Guidelines Study Session

Staff provided an update regarding Colorado’s Graduation Guidelines and the work that has occurred since the state board adopted the guidelines in May 2013. A panel of guests shared local perspectives on the graduation guidelines, including Floyd Cobb, executive director of curriculum & instruction, Cherry Creek Schools; Holly Sample, principal, University Schools;  Jennifer Sobanet, chief operating officer, Colorado Department of Higher Education; and Scott Stump, chief operating officer, Vivayic. 

Work groups of educators, parents, industry and higher education representatives statewide are continuing conversations to identify menu refinements, implementation recommendations, best practices and tools and resources.  The goal is to support school districts and school leaders in implementing career and college ready demonstrations.  For more information, visit http://www.cde.state.co.us/postsecondary/graduationguidelines.  

Standards

Colorado Math Standards Learning Session

At the request of the board, staff provided a learning session on the content and skills within the Colorado Academic Standards for math. The presentation outlined differences between the old math standards and the new standards.

Process for Withdrawing from the Common Core State Standards

At the request of the board, CDE staff and a representative from the Attorney General’s Office presented information related to the process for removing the Common Core State Standards from the Colorado Academic Standards.  Counsel provided an overview on an informal opinion issued from the Attorney General’s Office.

Resolution

The board adopted a resolution in support of social studies.

Legislative Update

The board voted to take a position of support for S.B. 15-173 concerning expanding protections for student data security. 

The board voted to take a position of support for H.B. 15-1201 concerning providing centralized operating services through boards of cooperative services, and in connection therewith, making an appropriation. 

Charter School Appeal

In the charter school appeal regarding Launch High School vs. Colorado Springs School District 11, the board voted to delay the appeal and vote until the March meeting.

Other Action

Notice of Rulemaking Hearing 

The board approved the notice of rulemaking hearing for the rules for the administration of the READ Act. Staff presented information to the board for the notice of rulemaking and outlined a timeline for rulemaking. 

Rulemaking Hearing

The board approved the rules for the administration of the Colorado Schools Awards Program.

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