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Sandra Moscoso Testimony – ESSA – State Board of Education – March 15 2017

Testimony of Sandra Moscoso
State Board of Education
Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
March 15, 2017

Good evening SBOE members. Please consider this my ‘Just in Time’ testimony, given OSSE’s March 14 response to SBOE.

I am Sandra Moscoso, a parent of students enrolled in BASIS DC Charter School and Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan – two very different schools with two very different approaches to education.

While my children in these very different schools perform similarly on the PARCC, their schools fall into very different “categories” of overall student body performance. Our family values both schools and the opportunities each school have afforded our children, and I can confirm the value we place in the schools is much broader than PARCC results.

With this in mind, I worry about how an accountability structure which focuses too heavily on a narrow measure of PARCC results, could (and does) translate into inequity within my own family. One of my children attends a school with the flexibility to offer art, social studies, and prioritizes foreign language, while my other child’s school moves mountains to do the above, while subject to the mandatory magic bullet of the day, and heavily scrutinized, giving up instruction time to constant testing.

I am hopeful that the approach (while still limited) of giving more weight to indicators outside of PARCC performance when evaluating school success or accountability, will indirectly address some of today’s inequities in DC’s education system. We want all schools to have access to arts, enrichment, science, civic studies. We don’t want lower performing schools, who may be addressing very diverse student needs, to continue to struggle to provide robust learning environments in a frenzy to chase down test scores.  Our schools should be able to meet the goal of growth without sacrificing equity. Your recommendations support a step in this direction.

We have this unique opportunity to broaden school accountability beyond the current testing paradigm. Excluding or diminishing academic and non-academic indicators like school climate, social studies, arts, etc., is a huge opportunity missed.

Thank you, SBOE for representing the voice of DC parents in this discussion. I also thank OSSE, who in their March 14 summary of public engagement feedback, acknowledges what we have heard parents say over and over again: we want less weight on standardized tests, growth matters, and school climate is important.

Thank you for the opportunity to share this testimony.

 

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