DENVER (AP) – Political heavyweights in Colorado banded together Tuesday to call for a reduction in mandatory student testing.
But a bill to reduce those student tests doesn’t please everyone. As the measure heads to its first hearing Thursday, some say the measure won’t stop parent anxiety over tests, curriculum changes and how teachers should be judged based on how their students perform.
The bill would reduce some mandatory tests between kindergarten and third grade, and in 11th and 12th grades. It would also require parents to be given the option of having their children take the tests on paper, rather than by computer.
Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and top lawmakers from both parties endorsed the bill Tuesday. “We’ve heard a lot of concerns from across the state about too much testing,” Hickenlooper said.
But some testing critics wanted to see more tests reduced.
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Peggy Robertson, a public school reading specialist in Aurora and an activist with the national United Opt Out movement, is a critic of Common Core who thinks the tests aligned with them are so hard they will frustrate rather than help students. “These are tests that have been imposed on us,” Robertson said.
A Democrat who hasn’t signed on to the bill being heard Thursday, Sen. Michael Merrifield of Colorado Springs, has proposed stripping Colorado testing all the way to federal minimums. “I think it (the bill) leaves a lot unanswered for parents and for teachers and for students,” said Merrifield, a former educator.
The bill doesn’t make any change to Colorado participating in national education standards known as Common Core. It also doesn’t make any changes to a divisive teacher-evaluation system.
But Hickenlooper and other backers of the limited testing rollback insisted that nationalized standardized tests are a crucial education tool and shouldn’t be repealed too quickly. The tests “allow us to compare ourselves nationally, and even internationally,” said Kelly Brough, president of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, which helped on a task force reviewing Colorado tests.
LINK: Senate Bill 215
– By Kristen Wyatt, AP Writer
Associated Press Writer Donna Bryson contributed to this report.
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