20% Of The Final Grade? Everything You Need To Know About The State Leadership Of Our Schools…

…summed up in the span of a few days from an email, an op-ed, and a press release.

What happens when the person who is about to become the former state superintendent of North Carolina sends out an email to all teachers and parents about EOC exams followed by a statement from a man part of the body who sued that almost former state super made with the person who is to become the state superintendent but not for another month who both then issue another statement on a Saturday to further debunk what the original message from the current state superintendent said in an email? (Out of breath).

A perfect example of the absolute absurdity of having these in-person EOC exams over these next few weeks and the confusion it is creating presented by people who will never take the exams or are in charge of educating the students taking them.

And one of those people is not even in office yet.

It started on December 9th.

Here is the text of that email from Johnson:

Educators – 

Many have contacted DPI and local school leaders to voice concerns over the State Board of Education’s requirements for mandatory EOCs that also count as 20% of a student’s grade. If you disagree with these requirements, please see below for how you can have your voice heard.

The State Board will soon finalize its testing rule for the entire state. This rule will require most students to take EOC assessments. This rule will also require that a student’s EOC grade counts as at least 20% of the student’s overall grade for the class.

Once the State Board secures final approval from the NC Rules Review Commission, these requirements will become permanent. It will then be difficult to change this EOC rule – even if North Carolina gets testing waivers from the U.S. Department of Education.

If you disagree with these requirements, you can have your voice heard by filling out this objection form and emailing, mailing, or faxing it to the NC Rules Review Commission. Your objections can delay the implementation of the State Board’s EOC rule.

If you are getting complaints from parents, please feel free to share this email with them as they can also contact the Rules Review Commission with their concerns.

Then this op-ed appeared on EdNC.org on December 10th.

It started with this:

Part of our recovery from COVID-19 is assuring we have appropriate measures in place to determine with certainty the academic and non-academic needs of our students. Testing allows us to determine the appropriate steps to help students meet their educational goals. We continue to explore our options to waive punitive accountability measures for the 2020-21 school year. However, federal testing and accountability measures can be waived only by the U.S. Secretary of Education. At this time, no waivers from the current secretary are forthcoming.

In the meantime, the SBE has authorized districts greater flexibility in establishing a grading scale that will minimize the impact of low assessment scores. Further, the SBE has provided districts the authority to delay assessments until June 2021 to provide increased safety in test administration and give more time for potential waivers to be approved. DPI has recommended that the SBE apply for a waiver for the federal requirement of 95% student participation in testing as well as for state accountability measures, such as school performance grades and low performing status for schools. The SBE will consider this action at its January meeting and anticipates a federal response in late spring.

Additionally, misinformation has circulated about the SBE’s authority to alter a state policy requiring assessments to comprise 20% of a student’s grade. While the SBE has authority to change that threshold, we are aware that lowering the 20% will likely lower student participation, which would be a violation of federal law. Therefore, it is imperative that the U.S. Secretary of Education waive the federal requirement for 95% testing participation before we consider this policy change. In the meantime, the flexibility afforded districts to delay assessments until June 30 provides students the option to postpone testing while the new secretary of education responds to our waiver request.

Then on December 12th, we got this press release labeled as “an unprecedented action.”

And the biggest thing we might really need to look at is this:

Puts that 20% into perspective.