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House Bill Would Keep Testing Unchanged, Allow Students to Use Federal Funds for Choice

February 4, 2015

This is not unexpected. Look at who’s writing this! Any reauthorization will require more “flexibility” in the use of federal funds and, in all probability, at least as much testing. And with bi-artisanship the goal of both parties I expect some form of this legislation to pass and with Obama’s perspective on accountability it will be signed into law. Reversing this will require a tidal change in the electorate’s way of thinking. Years of hearing that “business is good and government is bad”, “the marketplace is good” and “regulations stifle creativity” has resulted in the public’s belief that deregulated for profit charter schools are superior to “government schools”. The pushback on standardized testing is evidence that SOME parents are beginning to see that current accountability model that relies heavily on tests is making schools into joyless factories that stifle creativity and reward compliance. The opt-out movement may be a way to reverse this trend… but asking parents like my daughter in NYC to opt out of tests that are used to determine their child’s placement in a magnet school seems a lot to ask. As the stakes for tests get higher opting out gets harder. It’s a vicious circle that needs to be broken or our public schools will become ever more un-equal.

Diane Ravitch's blog

While all eyes were on the Senate hearings about the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, the House of Representatives was putting the final touches on its own bill.

Alyson Klein of Education Week here describes the House legislation. Testing, i.e., the status quo, would remain unchanged. Clearly, the Republican leadership has not heard the outcry of parents who are enraged by the excessive testing forced on their children by federal mandates such as they intend to preserve.

On testing: The bill would keep the NCLB law’s testing schedule in place, requiring states to assess students in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school in reading and math. And, just like under current law, science assessments would be required in three different grade spans. Unlike under Alexander’s bill, there’s no first and second option here for discussion. This isn’t a surprise, since both Kline, and Rep. John Boehner…

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