Can Bush Testing Plan Be Stopped?

K-12 Testing

Stopping an increase in federally mandated exams will be difficult, but not impossible. Assessment reformers will first try to persuade the conference committee that will reconcile House and Senate versions to delay, dilute or drop the testing requirements. Those efforts are not likely to succeed: the conference committee is composed of members of the two education committees, which overwhelmingly supported the tests.


The scheme can still be stopped in the appropriations process, where money is attached to the authorization. Indeed, this is where President Clinton’s plan for national testing was blocked (see Examiner, Fall 1998). Appropriations legislation will be taken up over the summer and into the early fall.


Success will require a substantial mobilization of individuals and groups. Concerned citizens must contact their U.S. Senators and Representative, by mail and phone. Those who supported the Hoekstra-Frank amendment should be praised and encouraged to continue opposition. Testing supporters should be educated on why more testing will hurt, not help, educational reform.


It also will be vital to get more organizations to weigh in. Too many failed to actively support efforts to stop the testing requirements. Since the consequences of this legislation will be devastating to public schools, teachers and administrators alike have a strong interest in halting additional exams. Local and state education groups will have to pressure their national organizations to take positions.


• FairTest will have material on its website; click on Opposition to Bush Testing Plan. Or we can mail you a packet of sample materials for duplication and distribution.