Testing Resistance & Reform News: July 15 - 21, 2015

The U.S. Senate has joined the House of Representatives in responding to growing, grassroots pressure by voting to overhaul "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB). The bills passed by both the Senate and House reflect widespread rejection of failed top-down, test-and-punish strategies as well as the "NCLB on steroids" waiver regime dictated by Arne Duncan. While neither version is close to perfect from an assessment reform perspective, each makes significant progress by rolling back federally mandated high-stakes, eliminating requirements to evaluate educators based on student test scores, and recognizing opt-out rights. FairTest and its allies will closely monitor the conference committee working on compromise language to make sure the gains remain in the final bill sent to President Obama -- the alternative is to keep the yoke of NCLB-and-waivers in place for at least two more years, if not much longer. Meanwhile, organizers in many states are keeping the spotlight on the problems of test overuse and misuse, modeling better practices and winning additional policy victories.

Remember that back issues of these weekly updates are archived at: http://fairtest.org/news/other

National End High-Stakes Testing to Help Fix Public Education: Key Civil Rights Leader
http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/education/247770-fix-public-educa...
National U.S. Senate Rejects Proposal to Give Federal Government More Say in Identifying "Failing" Schools
http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/senate-rejects-effort-to-g...
National Both House and Senate NCLB Overhaul Bills Allow for Penalty-Free Test Opt Out
https://deutsch29.wordpress.com/2015/07/17/both-house-and-senate-esea-bi...
National "Race to the Top:" Lofty Promises and Top-Down Regulation Brought Few Good Changes to America's Schools
http://educationnext.org/lofty-promises-little-change-americas-schools/

California Exit Exam on Way Out
http://www.hidesertstar.com/news/article_ee092084-2cfa-11e5-98d3-fbf7e03...

Colorado Two Small Districts Set Opt Out Records
http://co.chalkbeat.org/2015/07/20/two-small-districts-set-the-record-fo...

Connecticut Opposition Coalesces Against Smarter Balanced Tests
http://www.newmilfordspectrum.com/news/article/Opposition-coelesces-rega...

Delaware Governor Vetoes Opt-Out Bill; State PTA Pushed for Override Vote
http://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/education/2015/07/16/markell-ve...

Georgia More than 10,000 Young People Who Did Not Pass Grad. Test Recently Received Diplomas
http://jacksonville.com/news/georgia/2015-07-17/story/georgia-hands-dipl...

Hawaii Teachers Fight Evaluations Based on Student Test Scores
http://www.civilbeat.com/2015/07/she-fought-hawaiis-new-way-of-evaluatin...

Illinois Why Common Core Tests Are Harmful to Students
http://dianeravitch.net/2015/07/20/gerri-k-songer-explains-why-common-co...

Iowa Third-Grade Promotion Test Pushes Reading Down Into Kindergarten
http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/education/2015/04/20/early-r...

Louisiana Fight to Make Charter School Disclose What Test It Uses for Kindergarten Entry
http://hechingerreport.org/when-a-top-nola-charter-wont-reveal-its-admis...

Minnesota Test Cuts Came After Thorough Debate
http://www.startribune.com/editorial-counterpoint-school-testing-cuts-we...

Missouri Exam Scores Don't Tell Full Story of Teacher Preparedness
http://www.examiner.net/article/20150715/OPINION/150719341/-1/sports

Ohio Time Allocated to New State Tests Cut in Half
http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2015/07/ohios_common_core_math_...

Nevada After Testing System Breakdown, State to Hire New Assessment Vendor
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/state_edwatch/2015/07/after_testing_probl...

New Hampshire Schools Can Replace Smarter Balanced Tests with ACT or SAT
http://nhpr.org/post/nh-schools-can-replace-smarter-balanced-test-sat-an...

New Jersey Be Wary of New State Teacher Ratings
http://www.app.com/story/opinion/2015/07/17/teacher-ratings/30307937/

New Mexico Court Rejects Suit Seeking to Strip Pearson's Common Core Testing Contract
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/marketplacek12/2015/07/court_hands_major_...

New York High School Models Authentic Assessment
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2015/07/17/nyc-high-school-strives-for...
New York Opt Out Movement Plans to Ratchet Up Actions Against Standardized Exam Overkill
http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/238624/opt-outers-will-conti...
New York Pending NCLB Overhaul Offers Hope to Reduce State's Testing Obsession
http://www.lohud.com/story/opinion/2015/07/17/hope-reduce-testing-obsess...

North Carolina State's Largest District Cuts Back Local Test Mandates
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article27865318.html
North Carolina Cautions About Test-Score-Based Teacher Pay
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/community/chapel-hill-news/chn-op...

Oregon Students Can Meet Graduation Requirement with Work Samples in Their Home Language
http://www.oregonlive.com/education/index.ssf/2015/07/oregon_students_ca...

Pennsylvania Questions Mount About Using Volatile Test Results to Evaluate Teachers and Schools
http://thenotebook.org/blog/158810/educators-pennsylvania-pssa-test-scor...
Pennsylvania Teachers to School Board: Standardized Testing is Harming Students
http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/cocalico-teachers-to-school-board-...

Rhode Island What Tests Like PARCC Do Not Measure
http://www.golocalprov.com/news/guest-mindsetter-joel-hellmann-what-parc...

Tennessee Teachers School Governor on Testing and Evaluations
http://tn.chalkbeat.org/2015/07/16/tennessee-teachers-school-haslam-on-t...
Tennessee Local School Board to Take Up Opt Out Resolution
http://springhillhomepage.com/wcs-board-delays-talks-on-over-testing-cms...

Texas New Test Leading Fewer to Get GEDs
https://www.texastribune.org/2015/07/14/education-advocates-say-new-comp...

Washington State Testing Revolt Pushes State Into Uncharted Waters
http://wutc.org/post/testing-revolt-washington-state-brings-feds-unchart...
Washington Over-Testing is a Flawed Strategy
http://www.dailyrecordnews.com/familyandeducation/is-there-too-much-test...

"How Many Tests Can a Child Withstand?" -- with apologies to Bob Dylan
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/07/14/with-apol...

The Beatings in Education Will Continue Until Morale Improves
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-nelson/the-beatings-will-continu_b_7...