FairTest Press Release: Senate Education Bill Fails To Reverse "No Child Left Behind" Damage, Ignores Constituents

for further information:
Dr. Monty Neill    (617) 477-9792
or Bob Schaeffer (239) 395-6773
                                       
for immediate release, Tuesday, June 4, 2013

U.S. SENATE EDUCATION BILL FAILS TO REVERSE “NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND” DAMAGE;
IGNORES MESSAGE FROM CONSTITUENTS’ RESISTANCE TO HIGH-STAKES TESTING;
GRASSROOTS BOYCOTTS, OPT-OUTS AND RESOLUTIONS SAY, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”

Education legislation unveiled in the U.S. Senate today is “grossly inadequate to undo the damage of the 'No Child Left Behind' (NCLB) test-and-punish era,” according to the country’s leading assessment reform organization. “Rather than embracing policies that would improve learning and teaching, the bill drafted by Senate Education Committee Chair Tom Harkin (D – Iowa) follows the counterproductive path of the Obama-Duncan administration,” explained Dr. Monty Neill, Executive Director of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest). “It also ignores the growing grassroots movement against high-stakes standardized exams.” 

Among the weaknesses in the Senate proposal cited by FairTest:

  • This bill maintains NCLB’s testing requirements, which have failed to fulfill the law’s fundamental promises of higher overall achievement and smaller gaps between racial groups.
  • Even more testing will be required because states seeking Title II funds will have to include student test scores in teacher evaluation.
  • Focusing sanctions on the lowest-scoring schools will lift the worst punishments from most suburban communities while leaving low-income, minority neighborhoods at continued risk.

“The bill House Republicans are developing is no better,” Neill continued. “They may turn sanctions over to the states. But they have no plan for the federal government to provide the support necessary to build stronger schools in low-income communities. They, too, seek to coerce states into judging teachers based on student test scores.”\

Neill concluded, “Instead of pursuing ‘more of the same’ failed policies, policy-makers need to listen to their constituents. It is time to replace high-stakes testing schemes with assessment systems that help improve educational quality and equity.”
 

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