The federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the latest version of the long-standing Elementary and Secondary Education Act. It replaces the widely despised “No Child Left Behind.” The new law presents both opportunities and dangers for the testing resistance and reform movement.
"Time to Abolish High School Graduation Tests" explains in two pages how and why mandated high school exit tests damage students and the quality of education. These tests deny diplomas to tens of thousands of students, disproportionately children of color, immigrants or youth with special needs; they do not improve college or career prospects but feed the school-to-prison pipeline; new Common Core tests are likely to increase the dropout rate; and more.
Many states are beginning to review their assessment and accountability systems to comply with the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act. Input from grassroots stakeholders -- particularly parents, educators and community leaders -- can help determine whether the revised policies help improve learning and teaching or simply put a different gloss on failed test-and-punish systems.