Opposition to Bush-Congress Annual Testing Requirement Grows

K-12 Testing

Opposition to the testing and accountability requirements proposed as part of the reauthorization of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is growing rapidly.


In late September, as House and Senate conferees met to resolve differences in the versions of ESEA passed by the two houses, the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) issued a strong statement against the testing proposals. The National Governors Association released a milder statement of concern shortly thereafter (see story, p. 1). Some legislators also are receiving letters from the key political figures in their states asking them to oppose the testing mandates.


Over the summer, major education organizations stepped up their opposition (see Examiner, Summer 2001). By late-October, it seemed possible that a final agreement on ESEA might not be reached this year. If so, the legislation can be carried over until 2002. However, the more time goes by, the more opposition to the ESEA testing grows. After conference committee, the final compromise legislation must be approved in both houses. While this usually is a smooth process, growing resistance may make ultimate passage uncertain.


Contact Legislators
There is still time for constituents to contact their Senators and their Representative (for contact information, see www.fairtest.org). In addition, pushing state officials to openly oppose ESEA or to keep up the pressure if they already oppose the scheme, and pressing education and civil rights groups to speak out strongly against the testing and accountability proposals, can have a positive impact.