Our Views
WASL points kids to success

Students enrolled in public schools are in the midst of their WASL testing -- a standardized measurement of student learning.

While 60 protesters marched on the state Capitol early last week, they are a minority. Most parents see increased academic expectations as a good thing for their children. The fact is that this state can no longer afford to graduate students from high school who cannot balance a checkbook, write with clarity or think critically.

The goal of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning is to set high academic standards and measure student progress toward those standards. The test isn't perfect and merits further revisions because this is a high-stakes proposition. Seniors who do not pass the WASL in 2008 will not receive a high school diploma.

What's encouraging is the effort of school districts around the state to help every student achieve WASL success. Tumwater School District, for example, is starting a summer program for high school freshmen who did not pass all or part of the seventh-grade WASL exam. Students can enroll in the monthlong class for a mere $10.

Parents and students should take advantage of this and every opportunity to succeed.

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The editors of the Olympian have falsely represented the position of Mothers Against WASL.  Our members believe strongly in high expectations and quality public education for all students.  This is the reason we oppose WASL as a high-stakes test and the driver of school policy and curriculum. 

 

Mothers Against WASL is not alone!  The Washington State School Directors Association, the Washington Education Association, the National PTA, the American Educational Research Association, the American Association of School Administrators and others share our position.  Their stand and ours:  One test should never be used to determine the future or placement of a child, the funding of a school or the quality of teaching.  WASL is slated to determine all of these things. 

 

It is time for lawmakers to ask why, after twelve years of very expensive school reform, fewer graduates are able to balance a checkbook or succeed at college level math.  We believe the answer lies in the lack of foundational skills being taught, as teachers have been forced to conform to WASL standards.

 

WASL was never intended to be the driver of reform.  It was intended to be a part of an assessment package.  Lawmakers and editorial boards need to think critically about WASL and school reform rather than simply swallowing and regurgitating the propaganda of the state superintendent and the Washington Roundtable.  When this happens, it will no longer be necessary for Mothers Against WASL to march on the capitol. 

 

Juanita Doyon, Director

Mothers Against WASL

 

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