Improve accountability assessments in Utah schools

Action Utah has mobilized members to support Accountability Standards Amendments in the last state legislative session. Here’s what’s going on with the issue and what you can do to follow-up on the great actions members like you have already taken. 

Accountability Standards Amendments 

In the 2017 Session, Action Utah supported Representative Marie Poulson’s Accountability Standards Amendments to create an accountability dashboard and eliminate a school grading system that punishes schools for serving low-income students as well as students with disabilities. While her bill had momentum, it was tabled in the last reading. A similar bill by Senator Ann Millner did pass, and a new dashboard is being created by the State School Board (although SAGE scores will still primarily drive grades).
 
In the Interim Session last week (9/20) both Representative Poulson and Senator Howard Stephenson spoke positively about the dashboard, but expressed reservations about the way high stakes testing continues to negatively impact the groups named above. Here’s what you can do about it: 

CALL TO ACTION

  1. E-mail Rep. Poulson and Sen. Stephenson to say “Thank you for representing the interests of Title 1 Schools and low-income families in the interim session last week. While the dashboard provides some positive changes I am hopeful that high stakes testing and school grading will change so they do longer negatively impact Utah children who need public education the most.” Rep. Marie Poulson: mariepoulson@le.utah.gov; Sen. Howard Stephenson: hstephenson@le.utah.gov.
  2. Call State Superintendent Sydnee Dickson to say “Thank you for presenting the draft of the Accountability dashboard at the Interim Session. I support the views offered by Representative Poulson and Senator Stephenson that high stakes testing and school grading negatively impacts low-income students and Title 1 Schools. The dashboard is a step in the right direction but I’m hoping for more changes to improve educational equity.” Superintendant Sydnee Dickson: (801) 538-7500
  3.  E-mail your School District Representative to say “I heard about Accountability dashboard changes in the legislative Interim Session last week. What will our district do to ensure these changes promote equity in our district? At the district level the current grading system disadvantages Title 1 Schools and low-income students and changing the dashboard gives us an opportunity to shift how we support Utah’s most vulnerable student population.” Find your school district rep by inputting your address here and clicking on “Elected Officials”.

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