Blue Lines Matter

Filed in Uncategorized by on September 26, 2017 0 Comments

Mila Wood


  • “The Common Core thus paves the way for education that is ever more test driven, that begins with tests and ends with tests, where teaching to the test is the only option left because the textbooks and and the tests were written and vetted by the same company.” Ana Kamenetz


These days a parent can easily feel left out of the equation in education decisions affecting their child. They sometimes receive aggressive push back when exercising their parental rights. (Click here) Many times taxpayers simply feel pressured that they must pay for whatever new experimental reformy thing comes next.

This year, 2017, things changed. Objections to an expensive experiment were heard. In the 2017 Idaho legislative session the invalid, unreliable and very expensive Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium SBAC (ISAT. Yes, the state renamed it the ISAT2.0, so parents would feel more comfortable) test was removed from state law as a requirement for high school graduation! Pretty blue lines through the entire section. (See screenshot below.)

(Click to enlarge.)


From an Education Committee member:

“Specifically, the rules requiring the ISAT (or SBAC) for graduation are no longer in existence.  So, the top of their page 6 is now out of date and page 9, section 07 has been repealed.   

I wish the SDE was better at getting the word out to all the districts and I also wish the districts were more accommodating to parents.   But the district is behind the times on this issue.  Hopefully the parent can convince the district of the reality of the ISAT and SBAC test no longer being a graduation requirement .”


The citizens of Idaho came together, armed with knowledge proceeded to make their objections known. The list is pretty long ( Click here),( Click here) so for brevity,  let’s look at the 3 basic objections than can unite us all together in the battle for local control.


1) It’s an invalid test. Meaning, that it has never been proven to test what it says it tests, nor is it accurate in what it does test. (Click here Idaho got to contribute to this documented piece). Also, for federal accountability, this test in incongruent with Idaho law. ( Click here)


2) There’s no actionable data for parents or teachers. (Click here) So little in fact, most schools had to add more tests to acquire what they needed to inform instruction! This, along with invasive, disaggregate data mining (Click here , and Click here ) of psychometrics with no full disclosure to parents of the nature of the assessment is troublesome at best. (Click here, Click here )  From Dr. Peg Luksik on Idaho’s SBAC: “The first is from a training session conducted by CTB, which has the Acuity test for both SBAC and PARCC.  It defines psychometric testing in exactly the way that your law forbids, and then specifically talks about how SBAC is conducting these tests.  The second is the Request for Proposal from SBAC for psychometric testing services.”  And this from Utah’s Dr. Thompson on the ethics of psychometric tests.( Click here)


3) It’s not only fiscally irresponsible, but it robs children and teachers of actual learning, teaching and disrupts approximately three months of classroom time. (Click here)


No one said keeping the republic, and local control was easy – but these are our kids, and this is our money.


Citizens found good alternatives to present to legislators (


We the people looked to other states to see how they were fighting back and came across Oregon’s Parents Across America and their success with getting a bill passed to audit their SBAC test ( Click here, Click here) Spoiler alert- Idaho has roughly half the students of Oregon, so when you look at the numbers, simply cut them in half and be irritated-very irritated. The only person benefiting from this test is the juridical person, the test company.  


Due to numerous requests that our Idaho legislators audit our SBAC/ISAT, the pretty blue lines were swiftly and quietly born! We the people are proud parents of pretty blue lines in 2017.


Unfortunately, despite this huge victory, the task at hand, enforcing local control boundaries, still needs attending to, as many schools are uninformed of the changes that were made. Parents are still being told that Schools will lose money, which is simply not true ( Click here).  Kids are still being bullied by administrators incentivizing this invalid test and isolating your children for refusing. From here on out citizens need to make sure that schools know what the current law is in regards to graduation requirements and that all the federal mandates cannot override Idaho law. ( See below: the one good thing language from ESSA )


Language on opting out:


“Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed as preempting a State or local law regarding the decision of a parent to not have the parent’s child participate in the academic assessments under this paragraph.”



The feds do not need this invasive data, the teachers and kids deserve their actual class time back for learning, and if Idaho decides to have one state test, at a minimum, it should be fiscally responsible, valid/reliable and have actionable data.


Simply put, two signatures from the executive branch with no legislative oversight on the Common Core State Standards (2009  MOA Click here ) is where you will find the details (Click here) of federal over reach (Click here). These executive branch persons should not be able to totally eliminate the fourth and tenth amendments of our youngest and most vulnerable citizens by taking advantage of taxpayers to do it. There was no consent of the governed. This was education reform without representation.


Again, if a summative assessment is what Idahoans want as a measurement of success, shouldn’t that assessment be valid, reliable, fiscally responsible and add to class time, not disrupt and detract from it? Parents rights, students rights and local control should be protected in our republican form of government. That’s the bottom line.