The Columbian Newspaper
Don't swallow pro-WASL propaganda
By Lisa Sampson
Once again those of us fighting the WASL have been slammed by The Columbian's editorial staff, namely John Laird in his Sept 11th column,"Survival tips for parents and students.”
I find Laird's bias opinion and comments very disturbing. Here are a few facts that were not mentioned his column:
With the recent release of the 2005 WASL scores, state Superintendent Terry Bergeson spouted her usual rhetoric about how wonderful the scores are and how well the WASL is working.
She spoke about nearly 80 percent that passed the fourth grade reading test. The actual number of fourth grader in the state to pass all three sections of the WASL, and therefore passed the WASL is 45 percent. A far cry from the misleading 80 percent.After years of use, we have less than 37 percent of all students passing the science WASL.
The number of 10th grade students who passes all three sections of the WASL this year is 42 percent; 58 percent failed, only one year before the graduating class of 2008 takes the same tests as part of their graduation requirement.
WASL validity and reliability are extremely suspect. WASL’s own technical report, warns, “Scores from one test given on a single occasion should never be used to make important decisions about students’ placement, the type of instruction they receive, or retention in a given grade level in school.”
For eight years, the state superintendent has illegally denied access to the WASL, until parents cited federal law.
FERPA allows for parents to view their children’s educational records within 45 days of a request. WASL is included in those records and yet the state continues to ignore parental request for these materials. Student Learning Plans and placement in classes are being based on WASL scores that have been destroyed giving parents no recourse to view the test and there validity.
The state superintendent’s office
has failed to notify parents that all students’ tests prior to 2004 have been
destroyed. Parents only have until
president of the largest teachers union in
Parent Empowerment Network urges
all parents to view their children’s past WASL to see what is wrong with this
test and why only 39 percent of all students in
Parent Empowerment Network wants every parent to know that you have the right to Opt Out of WASL.
Lawmakers and the media need to pay attention to all the data and scores. Simply swallowing the propaganda of the state superintendent and the Washington Roundtable is not responsible leadership or journalism.
LISA SAMPSON of
Parent Empowerment Network/
Mothers Against WASL