Lt. Gov. Dan Forest’s Statement On The Vote To Not Extend Contract With iStation – Another Reason He Should Not Be Governor

Don’t let it be lost that Lt. Gov. Dan Forest’s response to the State Board of Education’s 8-2 vote to not extend the contract with iStation was made five days after the vote occurred.

Don’t let it be lost that Lt. Gov. Dan Forest is a State Board of Education member and was not present to make a vote himself.

Don’t let it be lost that Lt. Gov. Dan Forest’s response to the State Board of Education’s 8-2 vote to not extend the contract with iStation was made on April Fools’ Day.

But it should not be surprising that instead of proactively trying to lead as the current Lt. Gov., Dan Forest is simply loudly reacting to what other actual leaders are doing: making decisions based on the needs of citizens.

Remember this about Gov. Cooper’s decision to close restaurant seating a couple of weeks ago?

Forest’s office released a statement titled “Lt. Governor Forest Questions Validity of Restaurant Ban” in which he said Cooper’s order would doom the state’s economic vitality.

“His mandate will devastate our economy, shutter many small businesses and leave many people unemployed, especially in the rural areas of our state where food supply is already critical,” Forest said in the release. “After the press release, and shortly before a scheduled press conference, I, along with other Council of State members, was asked to concur with the Governor’s decision with no discussion. The Governor held his press conference and made the announcement even after a majority of the Council of State voted not to concur with the Governor. Thus, he does not have the authority to issue this part of his executive order.”

That order probably saved lives. Forest was worried about Cooper looking like a true leader.

And now he issues a statement on iStation?

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Here is the statement:

“The decision made by the State Board of Education last week was not in the best interest of our students. At a time when we should be doing everything we can to provide stability and continuity in the distance learning plans for students in our state, this action does not.

“This decision sends mixed signals to parents, teachers and school districts on what our expectations should be for our students. When we have a Board of Education advocating for waivers from the General Assembly to eliminate benchmark diagnostics, it makes it seem as though learning at home is not necessary when students are out of school. I, for one, will not advocate for blanket waivers for our students. I am very interested to see how students learn and progress during distance learning, but you cannot gather a true understanding of how students grew (or didn’t) by eliminating diagnostic tools during this COVID-19 statewide school closure. Diagnostic tools, like Istation, show parents and teachers how much a student has grown in a subject by continually tracking the student’s progress, rather than administering a standardized EOG test.

“Finally, the guidance in the State Board’s own document for distance learning stated that ‘When remote learning occurs in grades K-5, LEAs/Charters will provide meaningful feedback to promote student growth.’ By not continuing the contract, the SBE decided to not proceed with the only statewide resource/tool for systematically measuring the reading progress of all 461,441 students, kindergarten through 3rd grade.

“During these uncertain times, it is more important than ever for the State Board of Education to provide certainty for parents, teachers and school districts. I had hoped the Board’s decision of discontinuing the state’s system to track the reading achievement of K-3 students would be reversed after significant conversations over the last several days among DPI staff, educators from across the state, and board members. However, it now seems that the original decision will most likely stand.

Still, I remain hopeful a positive outcome can emerge for our students.”

That’s rich considering his staunch loyalty to Betsy DeVos’s agenda and his wanting to expand vouchers to every student in the state.

That’s rich considering his “letter” to teachers last December that literally was full of so many spun claims that debunking them all was a simple exercise.

What Forest did seems more like helping Mark Johnson save face in what has become an absolute PR nightmare soon after losing a primary for Forest’s current office – badly, I might add.

But it also shows you the disconnect he has with public educators who have been loudly telling DPI and Raleigh that iStation does not provide what they need and that many parents were raising questions how accurate iStation really was. And now that we are in a pandemic with stay at home orders, iStation’s inability to truly and accurately measure a student’s reading skill gets even more exacerbated.

And it shows his ignorance to the fact that mClass is offering its services for free right now.