"Testing Lacks Public Support," the headline on the Phi Delta Kappan's summary of its just published 2015 Gallup Poll of the Public's Attitudes Toward the Public Schools, says it all. The annual survey clearly shows that a majority of Americans are fed up with politically mandated overuse and misuse of standardized exams, just as FairTest and allies have repeatedly stated. FairTest Reaction
School doors are opening in many parts of the country but test scores from last spring are just beginning to be released. The big news in many jurisdictions is the huge surge in the number of families who opted out, a movement that is sure to grow in the 2015-2016 academic year. In many state capitals and Washington, DC policy makers are responding to mounting grassroots pressure by reducing test overuse and misuse -- we are making progress, but there's still a long way to go!
As K-12 classrooms across the country ready to reopen, scores from last year's tests are starting to be released. And, with Congress on summer recess, education committee staffers are working behind the scenes on reconciling provisions of the NCLB-overhaul bills passed by the House and Senate. This is a great time to make your views about the need for assessment reform known to both state and federal policy makers.
Now is the time to make sure a new federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is the best possible replacement of “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB) that we can win at this time.
The House and Senate conference committee to reconcile their respective versions of ESEA will begin work soon. A new law that ends federally mandated accountability will be an important step forward, even though neither house reduced the test-every-kid-every-year mandate.
Members of Congress are heading home from Washington DC for their mid-summer recess. Now is the perfect time to contact your U.S. Senators and Representative to push for a new education bill that eliminates federal testing sanctions, stops mandating the evaluation of teachers based on their students' test scores, allows states to adopt opt-out policies, and encourages better forms of assessment.
As the assessment reform movement monitors Capitol Hill where a congressional conference committee will soon take up the rewrite of "No Child Left Behind," pressure to cut back testing volume and reduce high-stakes consequences continues to build at the grassroots. Be sure to check out the excellent new public education resources available for your local campaigns listed at the end of the news clips.
National How Changes in the Federal Education Law Might Cut Testing Time