The Missouri Legislature officially ended the state’s relationship with Smarter Balanced the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The state’s involvement in Smarter Balanced was found unconstitutional this winter. The judge enjoined the state from making payments to the Common Core assessment consortia, and now the state legislature defunded it.
From the Dispatch:
Lawmakers directed the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to sever ties with the test developer, Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, which provided 17 other states with exams aligned with the Common Core. The provision is part of an appropriations bill that Gov. Jay Nixon signed into law. It eliminates $4.2 million the education department needed to pay Smarter Balanced for next year’s tests.
“The money taken out was an absolute frontal attack of the perception of Common Core,” said Peter Herschend, president of the Missouri Board of Education, at a May meeting. “No question about it. What is tragic about that is, it will drive us to four separate testing systems over four years.”
The provision provides the department with $7 million to develop standardized tests to replace those developed by Smarter Balanced. But next year’s testing window begins in nine months. Developing a new set of tests typically takes more than a year.
The move has Missouri education officials scrambling to figure out how they’ll test students next spring. Not testing students would violate federal law.
What I find fascinating is how the president of the state board of education is whining about money being eliminated that they were not legally able to spend. Instead of trying to appeal the lawsuit they lost perhaps they could have started the test development process earlier to avoid being in a bind. Also is there anything preventing them from using the assessment the state used prior to Smarter Balanced next year?