Teachers union request to delay tough tests rejected in Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. — The teachers union in Oregon wants the state to put off tough new statewide tests scheduled for next year because a majority of students are expected to fail. But state schools chief Rob Saxton has refused.

The new statewide tests are part of a national standard called the Common Core, and the state Department of Education estimates that only 35 percent to 40 percent of Oregon students will pass the first year, The Oregonian reported.

Teachers in some districts have not had enough time and training in teaching to the tests, said Hanna Vaandering, president of the Oregon Education Association, a potent political force with 40,000 members.

Some students will become ill, cry, feel frustrated and feel their self-worth badly undermined if forced to take state tests they aren’t equipped to pass, she said.

“Is there any rational reason why you would give an assessment that 65 percent of our students would fail?” she said.

Teachers and students are taking samples of the test, and the state should wait until those results are available, she said.

Saxton said it’s important for Oregon to give students, schools, parents and policy makers accurate information about how students measure up against rigorous national standards in reading, writing, math and analysis beginning next spring, so that Oregon won’t lag behind other states in adopting the standards.

“We need to do everything we can to equip our students with the knowledge and content and skillsets they need to be successful when they leave high school, whether for college or career,” he said.

States that have switched to Common Core tests saw marked improvements in the second and third years, he said.

Since 2001, federal education law has required all states to give standardized reading and math tests in grades three through eight and in one high school grade every year. All 50 states have complied.

Some states have already changed to Common Core-aligned tests, and the rest plan to do so in 2015.

No state has made a serious effort to discontinue or suspend annual reading and math testing, as Vaandering says Oregon should. If Oregon refused to comply, it would jeopardize at least $140 million in federal education funding.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

People look out onto Mountain Loop Mine from the second floor hallway of Fairmount Elementary on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Mining company ordered to stop work next to school south of Everett

After operating months without the right paperwork, OMA Construction applied for permits last week. The county found it still violates code.

Snohomish County Jail. (Sue Misao / Herald file)
Arlington woman arrested in 2005 case of killed baby in Arizona airport

Annie Sue Anderson, 51, has been held in the Snohomish County Jail since December. She’s facing extradition.

A Cessna 150 crashed north of Paine Field on Friday evening, Feb. 16, 2024, in Mukilteo, Washington. The pilot survived without serious injury. (Courtesy of Richard Newman.)
‘I’m stuck in the trees’: 911 call recounts plane crash near Paine Field

Asad Ali was coming in for a landing in a Cessna 150 when he crashed into woods south of Mukilteo. Then he called 911 — for 48 minutes.

The Nimbus Apartments are pictured on Wednesday, March 1, 2023, in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish County has the highest rent in the state. Could this bill help?

In one year, rent for the average two-bedroom apartment in Snohomish County went up 20%. A bill seeks to cap any increases at 7%.

A child gets some assistance dancing during Narrow Tarot’s set on the opening night of Fisherman’s Village on Thursday, May 18, 2023, at Lucky Dime in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Drive-By Truckers, Allen Stone headline 2024 Fisherman’s Village lineup

Big names and local legends alike are coming to downtown Everett for the music festival from May 16 to 18.

Sen. Patty Murray attends a meeting at the Everett Fire Department’s Station 1 on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Sen. Murray seeks aid for Snohomish County’s fentanyl, child care crises

The U.S. senator visited Everett to talk with local leaders on Thursday, making stops at the YMCA and a roundtable with the mayor.

Anthony Boggess
Arlington man sentenced for killing roommate who offered shelter

Anthony Boggess, 33, reported hearing the voices of “demons” the night he strangled James Thrower, 65.

Lake Serene in Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. (U.S. Forest Service)
How will climate change affect you? New tool gives an educated guess

The Climate Vulnerability Tool outlines climate hazards in Snohomish County — and it may help direct resources.

A cliff above the Pilchuck River shows signs of erosion Friday, Feb. 9, 2024, in Lake Stevens, Washington. Lake Connor Park sits atop the cliff. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Hill erodes in Lake Connor Park, forcing residents of 8 lots to vacate

The park has just under 1,500 members east of Lake Stevens. The riverside hill usually loses 18 inches a year. But it was more this year.

Ken Florczak, president of the five-member board at Sherwood Village Mobile Home community on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024 in Mill Creek, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
How Mill Creek mobile home residents bought the land under their feet

At Sherwood Village, residents are now homeowners. They pay a bit more each month to keep developers from buying their property.

The I-5, Highway 529 and the BNSF railroad bridges cross over Union Slough as the main roadways for north and southbound traffic between Everett and Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
As 4-month closure looms, Highway 529 bridge to briefly close Sunday

The northbound section of the Snohomish River Bridge will be closed 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The monthslong closure is slated for mid-May.

Ninth-grade program gets money, initiatives to get hearings

It’s day 47, here is what’s happening in the Legislature.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.