In our ongoing effort to understand what is happening in our public schools, we spoke to our State Representative about the 3rd grade mandatory reading test, textbooks versus Chrome Books, and Social & Emotional Learning . We thought we should share what we learned.
3rd Grade Reading Test:
If you get the news that your child has failed the reading test, you have some options. We were told that the State’s grade on the mandatory reading test has 25% of the grade based on the child’s writing ability. Some professionals disagree with the State Board of Education making writing part of the reading test, since a child’s writing ability develops later.
The parent(s) can ask that the child be given a norm-referenced test, such as the “NWEA MAPS” or the “Iowa Test of Basic Skills”. If the school refuses to give the test, then the parents can pay ~$75 to have a private company give the test to their child, and that could be used to promote the child to 4th grade.
We have also heard of the State intervening and having the child take a secondary reading test that substitutes a multiple choice test for the writing portion of the State exam.
If your child receives good grades on their report cards, but fails the reading test, the State may say that the schools are not teaching to the State’s curriculum since the tests are based on that curriculum. In any event, the lesson is not just to accept the school’s or teacher’s recommendation to repeat 3rd grade. Parents should “do their homework”, and research the alternatives before deciding to repeat 3rd grade.
Books versus Chrome Book:
Many schools do not use conventional books, but rather provide computers or “Chrome Books”. It is suggested that there are some inherent risks to the child being able to “surf the web”, and parents should ensure that all precautions are taken to limit the sites that the child can access. There is also a debate among local school officials about the reading of classic literature versus reading something that is engaging for the child to read.
Social & Emotional Learning:
We have posted about this before, but it has such a negative connotation that it bears repeating. Here is the link to the State’s website that discusses SEL.
Basically, it will attempt to change the attitude, behavior, and belief system of your child at the hands of the State. The State deemed that this was necessary because of the breakdown of the family structure in many of our school districts. One could argue that the Federal government created the problem with their rules tied to welfare payments.
In any event, we believe that parents should not concede their roles in this very important area to the State officials and teachers. Please continue to be diligent in this area, as it will continue to grow in importance in our schools. Teachers will ultimately be graded on how well they have implemented SEL.
If you have other school issues that you think would help concerned citizens, please provide a response.
(Comment: When they took the 10 Commandments out of the classroom, the State now assumes the role of determining what is right versus wrong, how the child acts, and what the child believes.)