Public Comments for: HB197 - Through-year growth assessment system; BOE to seek & incorporate input & suggestions into system.
To Whom It May Concern, Thank you for the opportunity to comment on HB 1034. As a public high school school teacher and parent of two young children (ages 5 and 2) in Virginia, I have serious concerns that this bill will wind up doing more harm than good for the children of our state. I have worked in two different public school systems in Virginia over 13 years, and I have seen first hand how beneficial counseling services can be to a wide variety of students. If parents are allowed to prohibit their students from accessing counseling services in the school, these students may be cut off from not only critical mental health support, but but also the academic, career, and community support that school counselors and mental health team members provide. All members of a school mental health team must undergo rigorous education before obtaining their licenses, and as such they should be trusted as the professionals they are to provide only services that they deem necessary for students well-being. I strongly urge you to let the trained mental health professionals do their jobs. Don't make students get tied in the mire of adult squibbles. Thank you, Sara Watkins Mother Teacher Concerned Virginia Citizen
To Whom It May Concern, Thank you for the opportunity to comment on HB HB1032. As a public high school school teacher and parent of two young children (ages 5 and 2) in Virginia, I have serious concerns that this bill will wind up doing more harm than good for the children of our state. As VA Senator Peterson said on January 27 of this year, regarding a similar bill, "I don't think we should be involved in micromanaging school libraries...The problem is that you’re going to sweep up books that you don’t intend to sweep up" (Matthew Barakat, abcnews.go.com). I strongly urge you to leave the books in the libraries for the kids. They deserve to have the opportunity to decide with their own parents and personal support systems what books to read. Thank you, Sara Watkins Mother Teacher Concerned Virginia Citizen
Thank you for representation. I am writing as a citizen about a bill introduced to the education committee. HB197 allows divisions substitute MAP for the SOL Growth Assessment. Many school divisions in Virginia Region II support this bill. However, I am concerned the bill mentioning a specific product which could make it difficult to move through committee. I am sure it can be modified to provide flexibility if allowed. I feel the modification could survive committee if the language was modified directing the Department of Education to identify products that meets the needs of the original code requiring growth assessments. At the very least I would like for the committee to ask the VDOE why school divisions are not satisfied with the current implementation of the new growth assessment which was passed by legislators last year (HB2027).
I am writing in support of this amendment. The current requirement for giving the Standards of Learning three times each year is not giving us the information that would be most helpful. The NWEA growth assessment will provide data for growth of each student AND give educators the Standards of Learning that each student is “ready to learn”. Teachers can use this assessment to help them plan for learning gaps that have occurred due to the pandemic. The SOL tests are not grade adaptive. They only provide questions for that specific grade level. The MAP test provides information for standards K-8. It is imperative that ALL students show growth. Teachers have both ends of the spectrum. If a student misses every single question on the SOL through test (which did happen), they have to give another assessment to determine the instructional level. On the opposite end, we have students who get every single question correct. Those students should show growth as well, so another assessment also has to be given to them to help with their placement for learning. In closing, the NWEA MAP growth assessment will allow educators to get two pieces of information with one assessment. The data provided can monitor growth but also help teachers determine the level of instruction that a child is ready to learn. Thank you for your consideration of this amendment.
This bill is a commonsense way to ensure that local divisions have options in growth assessments. The NWEA Growth assessment is the gold standard and provides actionable data for instruction as well as clear information for families on student achievement and growth. In the school division where I work, we are currently trying to juggle both NWEA Growth assessment and VDOE growth assessments, and find this double testing to be redundant and time-consuming; if given a choice between the two we would definitely prefer NWEA Growth for its actionable, granular data and ease of administration and use.