DENVER (CBS4)– Gov. John Hickenlooper joined together with former Gov. Bill Owens and Gov. Roy Romer to show their support for student testing.
“I think we’ve got about 25 years here of gubernatorial decision making here,” said Hickenlooper.
Hickenlooper and Romer, both Democrats, joined with Owens, a Republican, to respond to the anger and frustration of many parents and students who are opting out of standardized testing. They teamed up to defend what they call an attack on student assessments.
“Our friends from both the left and the right for differing reasons, don’t want to test, don’t want to measure, don’t want to have accountability,” said Owens. “This is stunning to me.”
The show of unity from the governors comes as parents, students and teachers protest a growing number of tests.
It also comes as the state Legislature takes up more than a dozen bills on the subject, including one that would allow parents to opt out children from tests without any penalty. Another would eliminate 9th grade tests.
Romer called the bills nonsensical, “What’s going to happen to these kids when they go to a community college or senior college and immediately be given a test in language arts and math to see where they’re placed in that curriculum. Why then would we deny doing that test four years earlier in the ninth grade to see where you are?”
The president of the state’s largest teacher’s union said the governors are out of touch.
“Parents, students, educators across Colorado are demanding a big change in how we test our kids. We want to reclaim our instructional time. We spend more than 30 percent of our instructional time right now just on preparing kids to test and then testing them,” said Colorado Education Association President Kerrie Dallman.
All three governors agree some tests could be eliminated but they say not at the cost of high standards and fair, reliable assessments.
“It’s essential. Our ability to get these kids to a level where they can compete for these global jobs is essential,” said Hickenlooper.
Hickenlooper has been meeting with lawmakers every week on testing reform bills. He hinted he may veto bills that make it easier to opt out of the tests.