It may be hard to believe but the already fast pace of assessment reform news continues to accelerate, reflecting the rapidly growing strength of the grassroots movement against standardized testing misuse and overuse. Activists will pay particular attention to Washington DC in the coming weeks as Congress finally appears ready to take up a bill to replace "No Child Left Behind," which shifts considerable power over testing and accountability to state government policymakers.
National NCLB Overhaul May Soon Begin Moving on Capitol Hill
The U.S. assessment reform movement continues to rack up victories, as summarized in a new report from FairTest and another week of clips from around the nation. Please help FairTest build on this success by contributing to support our Heroes in Education awards to Lani Guinier and Nancy Carlsson-Paige https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/fairtest
Two major stories dominated the week's news. President Obama's belated recognition of standardized exam overkill and another federal government report documenting academic stagnation during the "test-and-punish" era provided more ammunition for the country's rapidly growing assessment reform movement. In many states parents, educators, local officials and community leaders are gearing up for major campaigns to significantly reduce testing volume, eliminate high-stakes, and open the door to better ways to assess student learning.
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was signed into law in 2002, the latest version of the long-standing Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Its provisions, such as testing grades 3-8 annually in reading and math and punitive sanctions, took effect over the next several years. The law is eight years overdue for reauthorization by Congress. In 2015, both the House and Senate approved reauthorization bills and as of October 2015 are working on a compromise.
To understand why President Obama and Secretary Duncan were compelled to admit that there is too much standardized testing in U.S. public schools, scan this week's news clips with stories from fully half the 50 states. Across the country, parents, teachers, education administrators, school boards and community leaders have built powerful campaigns to roll back test overuse and misuse. Growing support for assessment reform is forcing politicians to act. Even if their first moves are largely symbolic, more tangible victories will follow if political pressure continues to escalate.
U.S. Senators and Representatives return to Capitol Hill in Washington, DC this week after their early fall recess. High on the Congressional agenda, along with funding federal programs and leadership fights, are the final steps to overhaul the discredited "No Child Left Behind" law. Make sure your elected officials know that you want real assessment reform, not more failed policies. Meanwhile, the testing resistance movement continues to raise issues and win victories in many states across the nation.