Wednesday, September 21, 2016

State education commissioner to meet with Knox County teachers on Tuesday

Candice McQueen talks with students in January
A group of Knox County teachers next week will speak one-on-one with the state's top education leader and the company that makes Tennessee’s new standardized tests.

State Education Commissioner Candice McQueen will host a private roundtable discussion on Tuesday with local teachers to address their concerns and talk more about the annual assessment for students.

The move comes as the state officially cut back on standardized testing this summer and created just one test for the end of the school year. The meeting also comes a few months after massive technical problems forced the state to pull the plug on its TNReady assessment testing.

The state fired the North Carolina company previously hired to operate the TNReady online testing system. In July, the governor’s office finalized a $60 million, two-year contract with Minnesota-based Questar, in a deal that officials hope will bring a better experience for teachers, parents and students.

The 90-minute roundtable meeting, which is not open to the public, takes place Tuesday at Fulton High School. It will include McQueen, a Questar representative, and about 15 teachers who were selected by their principals.

State House Rep. Eddie Smith, R-Knoxville, organized the forum in an effort to involve more stakeholders in the testing process “so we have an assessment that works for everyone” and to create more transparency between the state and local educational levels.

“Based on the failure we had last year with (former testing company) Measurement, Inc., we are just reassuring teachers how it's going to work, the process, and allow them to have feedback in the process,” Smith told WBIR 10News on Tuesday. “Something teachers have not had a great deal of input in over the last few years, we're trying to change that. And that's why we decided to have this meeting.”

Smith said the meeting will give teachers a “definitive voice in the process of how testing works in the state.”

10News contacted McQueen’s office Tuesday.

Department of Education spokesman Chandler Hopper said: “The goal of this meeting is to have an open dialogue specifically focusing on how our education system is preparing students for college and careers . . . . Commissioner McQueen is committed to incorporating educator feedback into the decisions made at the department and greatly appreciates the opportunity to hear directly from teachers.”

Rest of story HERE.

1 comment:

Jennifer Owen said...

Some Knox County Board of Education members wanted to attend the roundtable, but Smith refused to have us there. One would think he would WANT to work with Board members - especially those in his district. Instead of having a conversation, it looks like he wants to control the conversation. It's unfortunate. Our students deserve to have everyone speaking up for their diverse needs.

Several BOE members have already expressed concerns about the testing company. Denying access shows an incredible lack of cooperation.