Resolution on Chapter 62: State Standards for Progression in Reading
The Executive Board of the Iowa Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (IACTE) has approved the following resolution on January 2, 2014.
Be it respectfully resolved that the Iowa State Board of Education
1) Delay the rule making process and date of enactment for Chapter 62 pending further study of research literature.
2) Commission task force of reading researchers, educators, caregivers, and legislators to carefully study the research on literacy development, research-based practices in reading instruction and assessment, and grade retention.
On November 20, 2013, the Iowa Department of Education submitted notification for a proposal to create a new Chapter 62: State Standards for Progression in Reading. The notice and published guidance outline requirements for public schools. IACTE has significant concerns regarding retention of students at third grade based on measures of reading proficiency.
Although important for academic success, reading achievement is only one component in the complex arena of literacy development. How children learn to read is still a mystery, but the essential elements of quality instruction paired with a supportive home environment have been cited in numerous research studies.
In addition, the research literature maintains negative consequences of grade retention outweigh any short-term gains in student reading proficiency. Grade retention has been linked to lower academic achievement, higher absenteeism, increased behavior issues, increased high school drop-out rates, along with lower self-esteem and self-concept. Recent studies from Florida match these findings.
Standardized tests, although technically reliable, valid, and fair, continue to show bias against students of color. Bias is also seen in retention data with students from low socio-economic backgrounds, “[t]he typical profile of a child who is retained is a male, young for grade, small for age, of color, and living in poverty” (Powell, 2010).
IACTE member institutions support the Iowa Department of Education and the Iowa legislative bodies in their attention to educational quality and accountability measures. Members are willing to participate in ongoing discussions to reposition the State as a leader in education through informed decision making and collaboration.
Iowa was one of four locations for public hearings on the USDE proposal for ranking colleges to provide better information for applicants. The IACTE Executive Board made a response at those hearings (See below.) Another response was posted on the Huffington Post by Patricia McGuire, President of Trinity Washington University. She described it as the “silly season” at the Department of Education. However silly, Arne Duncan and the Obama administration seem intent on inflicting it upon higher education in the name of reform.
Our Executive Board has responded– do you agree or disagree?