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Congressman Joe Baca Sponsors Bill To End NCLB Testing Requirements

Susan Notes:


Stephen Krashen Comment
Unnoticed by the media, an extremely important piece of legislation
was introduced in the House of Representatives at the end of July.
Representative Joe Baca, a democrat representing Rialto, has
introduced the Save Our Schools Bill, which would eliminate all
required No Child Left Behind (NCLB) testing in the United States.

NCLB has failed every time it has been evaluated. According to the
gold standard, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP),
grade 4 reading scores are up, but the gains occurred before NCLB went
into effect, and there have been no gains for grade 8 reading under
NCLB.

Math scores are up, but they have been rising at the same rate for
years, since well before NCLB. It deserves no credit for the higher
scores.

NCLB has not narrowed the achievement gap. The gap between high- and
low-income children has not changed since 2003, not for math, not for
reading, not for Grades 4 and 8.

We all want accountability, but the NCLB tests are excessive and
inappropriate, and have turned our schools into test-prep centers. We
should only test as much as we have to, and use means of assessment
that encourage real learning. Removing the requirement of using NCLB
tests has the potential of saving billions, and making life easier and
more productive for students and teachers.

Baca's bill deserves the support of every member of congress.

Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus
University of Southern California

Copy sent to Representative Henry A. Waxman



PRESS RELEASE

BACA SPONSORS BILL TO END NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND TESTING REQUIREMENTS

Bill Would End Costly Testing Requirements, Reign in "Teaching to the Test" Culture

Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto, California)
introduced legislation in the House of Representatives that creates a
moratorium on the testing provisions in the No Child Left Behind Act,
which currently govern the assessment standards used by each of the 50
states. The Save our Schools (S.O.S.) Act amends the Elementary and
Secondary Education Act to remove all mandated testing provisions,
freeing school districts and teachers from the “teaching to the test
culture” and ending an inequitable system that punished, instead of
assisted, those schools and students in the most dire need.

"Since it’s enactment in 2001, the No Child Left Behind Act has
been a complete and utter failure," said Rep. Baca. "Instead of
ensuring all of America's children have access to a quality
education, the legislation has tied the hands of teachers and school
administrators, forced students to learn inane testing strategies
instead of real-life skills, and made billions in profits for
standardized testing companies. I am proud to introduce this long
overdue legislation, which can finally put America's education
policy back in the hands of local officials, teachers and parents, and
remove the influence of big corporations and Washington
bureaucrats."

While the testing measures included in the No Child Left Behind Act
were originally meant to serve as a means of holding school districts,
administrators and teachers to the highest standards of accountability
to ensure strong academic achievement for all students – the
measures have in fact had the opposite effect. The persistent problems
caused by the testing mandates in the No Child Left Behind Act include
over-emphasizing standardized testing, narrowing curriculum and
instruction to focus on test preparation rather than richer academic
learning, using sanctions that do not help improve schools,
inappropriately excluding low-scoring children in order to boost test
results, and failing to come up with successful measures of assessment
for students with limited English skills and special needs students.

"No Child Left Behind Act prescribes a failed one-size-fits all
approach to the development of America’s youth," said Rep. Baca.
"The S.O.S. Act is responsible legislation which can eliminate the
misguided testing requirements that are currently in place, and
instead return education policy to where it belongs, in the hands of
our states and local governments."

— Rep. Joe Baca
Press Release


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