Wednesday, July 8, 2020
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Late ISAT testing window extended for striking teachers

(2nd lead write-thru, Monday 3/11, 1am EDT)—Meetings on Sunday between teachers in Dixon, Ill., and Dixon Unit School District 170 failed to produce a deal, and students will miss an eighth day of classes Monday due to a teachers’ strike. Students at elementary and middle schools are threatened with missing the statewide ISATs, which would trigger serious financial consequences. The district therefore proposed a cooling off period, during which negotiations would continue but students would return to school so they can take the tests.

The Dixon Education Association, which is the union that represents teachers in the district, rejected the district’s initial cooling off period proposal, according to a report Monday morning on Sauk Valley Media, which owns two papers in Dixon and runs the saukvalley.com website. Talks will resume Monday.

The DEA has been on strike since Feb. 28, and the 2,767 students in District 170’s five schools—Dixon High School, Reagan Middle School, and Jefferson, Washington, and Lincoln elementary schools, all in Dixon—have so far missed eight days of classes.

The Illinois State Board of Education said it will allow students in the district to take the ISATs during the late testing window. No testing will take place until teachers return, however, and the two sides are said to be far apart on major issues. If they don’t get back into school, the district could lose funding from the state due to its inability to test students as well as its recognition status.

The regular testing window for the Illinois Standard Achievement Test is scheduled to close Friday, but the late testing window runs through March 22. Students in grades 3 through 8 are tested in math and reading, and fourth- and seventh-graders are tested in science. The test is used to measure students’ and schools’ compliance with accountability goals prescribed in federal and state law.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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