Sunday, November 29, 2015

Grade 3-8, 10 testing is going to stay in

I realize that no one is going to thank me for pointing this out, but I feel honor-bound to.

I continue to see calls via social media for some sort of hold on the NCLB renewal (ESSA is the new abbreviation, for "Every Student Succeeds Act"*) with a push to drop the grades 3-8 and 10 testing requirement.

That isn't going to happen.

The issue of grade level testing was raised in the deliberation in both the House and the Senate. In the Senate, nothing quite as far as dropping that requirement was proposed; an amendment that would just allow parental opt-out and notification failed, though. There also was considerable concern on the Democratic side if the rollback of federal oversight around testing would lead to civil rights abuses (Massachusetts, you may remember that this is why Senator Warren voted against the bill).
In the House, with its Republican majority, an amendment that would allow states to opt out of federal accountability entirely failed as "too conservative," though the parental opt-out passed.
The testing requirements are in the conference committee bill because that is what a majority of both the House and the Senate support; it's also pretty clear that it would be required to get the President's signature.

I'd just as soon this weren't the case; in my own testimony regarding this, I urged otherwise. It is clear, though, that the successor to NCLB is going to have grade-level testing in it.

*and enjoy the possibilities of "it's a"

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