Iowa Governor Terry Branstad vetoed the bipartisan action to delay the Smarter Balanced Assessments. He approved SF 2323, but using his line item veto authority in an appropriations bill he vetoed language in the bill that suspended the administrative rule mandating the Smarter Balanced Assessments by the Iowa State Board of Education. The rule was to be reviewed at the joint administrative rules review committee that meets in December.
In his veto message sent to the Secretary of State Paul Pate he wrote:
I am unable to approve the items designated as Section 18, and Section 19, subsection 5, in their entirety. These items unduly delay Iowa’s transition to a new statewide academic assessment system. The Iowa Department of Education can best serve students by moving forward immediately to prepare for the implementation of the new assessment system on July 1, 2017. School administrators and teachers are eager for a new assessment system that is closely aligned with Iowa’s high state academic standards. By providing better information about students’ academic progress, the new assessment system will improve instruction. A well-aligned assessment is a key step toward providing a globally competitive education.
Branstad is now out-of-line with the Republican Party of Iowa who just passed a platform plank that opposed the Common Core State Standards and aligned assessments. He is out of step with a resolution passed by the Republican National Committee. Even states with Governors who like Common Core are backing away from Smarter Balanced , but Branstad has doubled down. Courts in Missouri have found it to be unconstitutional, but Branstad embraces it. He has now raised assessment costs dramatically for local school districts, as well as, technology costs for school districts that do not have the needed bandwidth (and number of computers). Smarter Balanced was a disaster rolling out. The assessment hasn’t even been properly validated.
Branstad officially owns this disaster and has come down in favor of the education elites in the state, and against parents.