Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Some parting thoughts...

Earlier today, Colorado governor John Hickenlooper announced he signed House Bill 1323. After a series of compromises in the final week of the legislative session, this bill ended up somewhere between its original form and Senate Bill 257, which we'd previously voiced support for.

Assuming you've read this blog before, you can probably guess what our position is. We are pleased by the reduction of testing in 11th/12th grades. We are pleased by the replacement of 10th grade PARCC with the ACT aspire, as we believe this provides students with better preparation for the ACT, which helps with college entrance.

We are cautiously optimistic about the pilot program which would allow districts to utilize examinations other than PARCC, so long as such exams still comply with federal requirements. From Colorado Chalkbeat
The compromise allows any district or group of districts to apply to the state for approval to “pilot” new tests. Eventually two tests would be chosen from those pilots. And in the end the Department of Education – with legislative approval – could use one new set of tests statewide.
While it is unclear exactly how such a program will play out, we hope that districts will take up the challenge to find better exams than PARCC. Other states such as New Hampshire have been through this process, but it takes time.

As high school students, we applaud these changes.  As citizens, we recognize that Colorado's standardized testing system has improved, but is still far from perfect. Substantial changes to standardized testing depend on federal action to change the 2002 No Child Left Behind act. Although there has been talk of reforming NCLB, nothing has come into fruiton yet.

When we began this process last fall, our primary goal, aside from reducing the standardized testing burden Colorado students face, was to simply increase student voice and involvement in the education process. We continue to believe that as students, we have a unique perspective on education and public schools.  While we are certainly limited in some aspects, we also understand things that parents and teachers and politicians miss. 

Of course, those of us who have maintained this blog are high school seniors at Fairview high school. We are all graduating this weekend. Although we will no longer be Colorado high school students, our commitment to education, social justice, and celebrating the youth voice remains strong.

We aren't really sure what we are going to do with this blog. We'd like to keep it open to Colorado students who want to express their views about education. We'll continue to maintain our email account ( If students in the future are looking for an outlet to express their views on standardized testing or other aspects of education, we would be happy to help them do that.

Finally, we want to express our gratitude for the support we have received from our community. We are thankful we never faced consequences for choosing to express our views on standardized testing.  We are grateful for the opportunities we had to interact with fellow student protestors at several statewide panels; we are grateful we were able to express our views to the 1202 Task Force last fall; we are grateful that our testimony was heard in the Senate this past April. So to everyone who has helped us along the way, thank you.

Best wishes,
Jessica Piper

Fairview High School '15

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