Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Support S.B. 257!

Over the last few months, we've frequently expressed concern that Colorado's legislature, despite the 1202 Task Force report, despite student protests and opt-outs, and despite the promises we've heard to reduce testing, would not act. Consequently, we were pleased to see the development of Senate Bill 257, which passed committee last week. This piece of legislation, proposed by Senators Mike Merrifield and Owen Hill:
  • reduces testing to federal minimum levels (every year in grades 3-8, once in grades 10-12, but keeps the state-mandated ACT intact)
  • postpone the use of standardized testing as a significant part of teacher and school evaluation for three more years- this way, standardized tests won't be used a major measurement while the system is still being sorted out
  • allows districts to choose standardized tests other than PARCC, so long as they still meet federal requirements
This third point is particularly crucial from a student perspective. We've frequently expressed concern about the content as well as the cost of the PARCC tests. (The tests this spring cost roughly $37 million, according to the Denver Post. The state spent a similar amount last fall.) Under S.B. 257, districts would have the opportunity to pursue cheaper, less time-consuming tests. We believe this would lead to the development of better standardized tests, which would lead to better standardized testing system as a whole.

The issue, at this point, is whether S.B. 257 bill make it through the legislature. The bill will likely be up in the Senate chambers toward the end of April. Meanwhile, the House is considering House Bill 1323, which, as we wrote last week, wastes taxpayer money and doesn't do nearly enough to alleviate our concerns about standardized testing.

S.B 257 is a decent solution to the complicated problem of standardized testing in Colorado. We encourage Colorado legislators to take this opportunity to create meaningful reform.

No comments:

Post a Comment