Blog

Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12®

ESSA. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states. Read more from this blog.

Federal

Major K-12 Groups to Congress: Keep Annual Tests in NCLB Rewrite

By Lauren Camera — January 30, 2015 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Half a dozen big-name education organizations are making sure members of Congress working to update the No Child Left Behind Act are crystal clear: The new version of the law should keep yearly tests in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school.

On Friday, the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Business Roundtable, the Education Trust, the National Council of La Raza, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools sent a letter to leaders of the Senate education committee to “go on the record” about their opposition to eliminating the testing requirement.

“We are deeply concerned with the idea of ending the current system of annual reading and mathematics assessments,” the groups wrote to Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., the chairman and ranking member of the committee, who are in the process of drafting a reauthorization of the NCLB law.

The biggest policy debate emerging in the reauthorization process is whether or not to preserve the law’s annual testing requirements and how those tests should play into a re-imagined accountability system.

“These assessments are the cornerstone of maintaining accountability for results throughout the K-12 education system, particularly for disadvantaged children who need help the most,” the groups wrote.

Annual assessments, the letter emphasized, are necessary to provide timely information on student achievement growth for parents, educators, the business community and the public. And importantly, the annual tests provide a vital measure of accountability for the $25 billion in taxpayer funding that is doled out to states through the underlying law, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

The letter conceded that there is “valid cause for concern” about over-testing.

Some recent reports have found that students are being tested hundreds of times during their elementary and secondary school years. However, most data suggests that states and local districts are responsible for the testing overkill, not the feds. A new report from Ohio’s Department of Education, for example, found that federal tests only account for 32 percent of overall testing requirements.

“We strongly support recent efforts of states and localities to take a much closer look at the number and duration of tests in order to eliminate unnecessary and duplicative assessments,” the groups wrote. “However, accountability for results demands assessing progress, at least on an annual basis, in a manner that provides useful comparable data for teachers, principals, administrators, parents and the public - and it ensures action when students are lagging behind.”

The letter explicitly notes that testing isn’t the only issue that will determine whether or not they ultimately support a final reauthorization bill, but since it’s the biggest policy debate of the moment, the groups “wanted to go on the record jointly now, so you were completely aware of our views.”


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal White House Launches Hispanic Education Initiative Led by Miguel Cardona
President Joe Biden said his administration intends to address the "systemic causes" of educational disparities faced by Hispanic students.
2 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona writes down and draws positive affirmations on poster board with students during his visit to P.S. 5 Port Morris, a Bronx elementary school, Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021 in New York.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visits students in New York City at P.S. 5 Port Morris, a Bronx elementary school in the Bronx last month.
Brittainy Newman/AP
Federal Feds Add Florida to List of States Under Investigation Over Restrictions on Mask Mandates
The Education Department told the state Sept. 10 it will probe whether its mask rule is violating the rights of students with disabilities.
3 min read
Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session on April 30, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session on April 30, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
Federal How Biden Will Mandate Teacher Vaccines, Testing in Some States That Don't Require Them
President Joe Biden's COVID-19 plan will create new teacher vaccination and testing requirements in some states through worker safety rules.
4 min read
Nurse Sara Muela, left, administers the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site setup for teachers and school staff at the Berks County Intermediate Unit in Reading, Pa., on March 15, 2021.
Nurse Sara Muela administers a COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site for at the Berks County Intermediate Unit in Reading, Pa.
Matt Rourke/AP
Federal Biden Pushes Schools to Expand COVID-19 Testing, Get More Teachers Vaccinated
President Joe Biden set teacher vaccine requirements for federally operated schools as part of a new effort to drive down COVID's spread.
7 min read
President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room at the White House, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in Washington. Biden is announcing sweeping new federal vaccine requirements affecting as many as 100 million Americans in an all-out effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging delta variant.
President Joe Biden in a speech from the White House announces sweeping new federal vaccine requirements and other efforts in an renewed effort to stem the COVID-19 pandemic.
Andrew Harnik/AP