In a brazenly political move, California Superintendent of Instruction Tony Thurmond and the California Department of Education announced they will not release statewide student test scores until after the November election.
“In a significant departure, the California Department of Education is withholding the release of the results of the Smarter Balanced tests that students took last spring until an undetermined date later this year,” EdSource reported Thursday. “The result will be a months-long delay before the public can view results in English language arts, math and science for the state, districts, schools and charter schools.”
“The fact that the department is not willing to publish now suggests that scores will be lower and the current state superintendent does not want to be held accountable for the results,” Lance Christensen, candidate for California Superintendent of Public Instruction told the Globe Friday.
Districts have had initial access to their own Smarter Balanced test results since early summer and reliable data since early August, EdSource reported.
“If California’s state test results mirror the recent implosion in national test scores, then it is likely that the state’s scores show a catastrophic drop in student achievement with massive learning losses in math and English,” Lance Izumi, Senior Director of Education Studies at the Pacific Research Institute told the Globe. “With no valid reason to withhold the test results, one can only surmise that Superintendent Thurmond’s decision to withhold the results is politically motivated during an election year.”
EdSource continued: “The state refused to release the test score results to EdSource despite an Aug. 5 letter to districts, county offices of education and charter schools telling them the results were ‘not embargoed’ and they ‘are encouraged to use their results for local planning, including public meetings with their local governing board.’”
Reopen California Schools took notice: “Wow! @TonyThurmond keeping test scores a secret until after the November election is not only politically motivated, but it further harms California’s school children. Let’s bring accountability to the #SPI office by voting for @Lance4CASuper this November.”
Wow! @TonyThurmond keeping test scores a secret until after the November election is not only politically motivated, but it further harms California’s school children.
— Reopen California Schools (@ReopenCASchools) September 22, 2022
“Tony Thurmond stood by and let the governor and teachers unions lock down California schools during the pandemic,” Christensen said. “They [unions] own Tony Thurmond lock, stock and barrel.”
Christensen is correct. This tweet and attachment shows just how much spending the CTA does on Democrats in California: “The California Teachers Association mails out its latest installment towards the purchase of a state government.”
The California Teachers Association mails out its latest installment towards the purchase of a state government. https://t.co/xE3SJvdtO1
— Rob Pyers (@rpyers) September 22, 2022
“The denial of EdSource’s request to release test score data comes at a time when educators are concerned about the pandemic’s impact on reading and math progress, especially in the early years,” EdSource said. “Releasing scores ‘later this year’ means that the public will learn about spring test results for third-graders who are now well into fourth grade.”
“The California Department of Education told EdSource that it is withholding the scores now, so they can be simultaneously released with other data for the California School Dashboard, such as student absentee rates, suspension rates and rates of chronic absenteeism,” EdSource said.
“The more I learn about the Department of Education, the less impressed I am,” Christensen said.
Called a “disruptive force” by three major newspapers after refusing to endorse him, Christensen said “I’m actually thrilled to be called a ‘disruptive force.’ I will hold people accountable.”
Lance Christensen said when people tell him the Superintendent of Public Instruction should be appointed by the governor rather than elected by the people, he tells them California’s founders disagreed. They specifically wrote into California’s State Constitution that the people choose top education officials, to make sure our education system is the top education system in the entire world, he explained.
“Right now, our education system is the laughingstock of the world,” Christensen said.
The Schools Superintendent is actually in charge of 2,400 employees and a budget of $1.75 million. “This report should have been done within two hours of receiving the data from the state’s school districts,” Christensen said.
“My 15-year-old can build an app to share this data faster than Thurmond’s Department of Education has in four years.”
“Right now, we don’t know what we don’t know,” Christensen added. “Why does Tony Thurmond think he deserves a second shot at superintendent?”
“It is absolutely unconscionable for State Superintendent Tony Thurmond and the CDE to withhold student test results from the public when those results have been available to local school districts for months,” Izumi said. “The CDE’s lame excuse that it is trying to ‘finalize’ results holds zero water given that reliable results have been available to districts since the beginning of August, which individual districts such as the Los Angeles Unified School District have released to parents and the public in their communities.”
“Withholding these test results not only undercuts the ability of parents and the public to hold an elected official like Superintendent Thurmond accountable for his performance, it is also, according to some legal sources, a possible violation of the state’s Public Records Act,” Izumi continued. “There was a failure of leadership in California public education during the COVID pandemic, ranging from schools closed too long to hugely ineffective distance-learning practices. Withholding these test results smells like an attempt to cover up the results of this failure, and once again the victims are California’s children.”
Christensen added, “There are no reforms that will fix education in California until teachers unions are no more.”
A few weeks after getting caught spying on parents, @WeAreCTA drops nearly $900K in a single day towards Democrat politicians, including 81% of our state’s legislative races.
— Reopen California Schools (@ReopenCASchools) September 23, 2022