Testing Related Bills Currently in The Legislature

There are a couple of bills working their way through the legislature that you should be aware of:

Bill to Exempt Top Districts
A couple of weeks ago, New York Senator Jack Martins backed a bill that would exempt the top performing districts from having to submit new APPR plans. There is now some word that he is planning to kill that bill (although we don’t have confirmation on this yet). This would be a very good thing as creating a two-tiered evaluation system is a terrible idea. Besides the fact that the new education laws are harmful to all students – not just the affluent ones – it doesn’t address the issue that the 3-8 testing is damaging to students whether they are 50%, 20%, or not tied to teacher evaluations at all..

Opt-Out Bills
Separate bills in the State Assembly and Senate would codify the rights of parents to opt their children out of state tests. Both bills prohibit districts from penalizing students who do not take the tests. The Senate bill would also require school districts to notify parents of their right to opt-out. At this point it is too early to tell how far this bills will get and whether or not the two houses will be able to work out the differences in the bills.

In any case, the U.S. Department of Education is taking a different approach. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says the Federal Government might need to “step in” to insure that 95% of students take the tests. This could mean declaring high opt-out schools as failing and withholding funds in order to push states to require in order to drive states to push anti-opt-out laws.

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