Bipartisan Bill Proposes Curbing Federal Testing Mandates

Congressman Chris Gibson has introduced H.R. 4172, the “Student Testing Improvement & Accountability Act.” This bipartisan bill makes common-sense reforms to the No Child Left Behind Act, empowering state and local school systems to focus on teaching instead of testing:
Washington, Mar 12 –
Congressman Chris Gibson (NY-19) announced the introduction of H.R. 4172, the “Student Testing Improvement & Accountability Act,” which makes common-sense reforms to the No Child Left Behind Act by reducing the frequency of federally-mandated assessments in U.S. schools.
Congressman Gibson introduced the bipartisan legislation March 6 with Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-9).
“My constituents have overwhelmingly expressed their concerns with the recent shift in education policy from a focus on teaching to a focus on testing,” said Congressman Gibson. “Parents and educators across Upstate New York know that maintaining this approach will continue to hamstring our teachers and students.”
“Working in Arizona schools for nearly a decade taught me the importance of empowering teachers to teach to the content they want their students to master—not simply to teach the material needed to know the next upcoming standardized test,” said Congresswoman Sinema.
H.R. 4172 replaces current annual testing requirements for math and language arts with the exact same grade-span testing requirements in current law for science classes. This returns federal testing requirements to the once-per-grade-span standards established before 2001, when math and reading assessments were typically conducted once in grades 3-5, once in grades 6-9, and once in grades 10-12.
Under H.R. 4172, the states would retain the ability to exceed federal testing requirements if they seek to do so.
“I have lived a life of accountability, and I understand the need for a means to accurately gauge school performance, but I reject the notion that the only way to achieve this is through burdensome over-testing,” said Congressman Gibson.
The National Education Association (NEA), which represents 3 million educators across the country, announced its support for the bill.
“The over-emphasis on standardized testing has caused considerable collateral damage in too many schools, including narrowing the curriculum, teaching to the test, reducing love of learning, pushing students out of school and driving teachers out of the profession,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “This bill by Rep. Gibson and Rep. Sinema would help put a stop to these negative consequences and help ensure that all students succeed.”

Diane Ravitch's blog

Two Congressmen–a Democrat and a Republican–proposed legislation to cut back on federally mandated testing.

This is great news!

The legislation was immediately endorsed by the NEA.

“Today the National Education Association endorsed HR-4172, introduced last week by Reps. Chris Gibson (R-NY) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). The bill would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to change the number of federally mandated standardized tests state would be required to administer under the current law, eliminating annual testing and replacing it with grade-span testing (or testing once over a certain span of grades.)

“According to Rep. Gibson: “In the decade since No Child Left Behind was signed into law the focus in education has shifted from teaching to testing. But data shows the current testing regime established in No Child Left Behind has not led to higher standards. Teachers are spending more time preparing students to take tests…

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