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Coalition Calls on Gov. Brown to Veto Testing Bill, AB 484

Vanessa Romo | September 19, 2013

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computer_testA coalition representing “tens of thousands” of parents, teachers and education reform organizations is petitioning Governor Jerry Brown to veto a bill letting California schools off the hook for testing students while the state transitions to a new curriculum and testing model.

Gov. Brown has expressed his support for AB 484 and has has until the end of the month to sign or veto it.

The bill, suspends annual multiple-choice tests, including the California Standards and Reporting tests, taken by students in the second grade through the junior year of high school. It replaces them with a new system called the Measurement of Academic Performance and Progress (MAPP), a test developed to assess the new Common Core Standards that will take effect in 2014-15.

Until then, the bill would allow schools to take a pilot MAPP field test in either English or math, and not count the scores as an official measure of school progress.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan initially opposed the plan and threatened to withhold up to $1.5 billion in federal funds from the state but he has since backed away. Duncan now says schools that administer the new test could ask for a waiver that would relieve them of having to report the results as mandated by No Child Left Behind. However, California schools would be required to test students in English and math.

State Superintendent Tom Torlakson says California can’t afford to pay for both tests.

Signatories to the letter hoping to block AB 484, including Parent Revolution, Educators 4 Excellence and Teach Plus, argue the single-testing policy leaves the neediest kids in the lurch.

In an email to the LA School Report, Parent Revolution said:

“[We oppose] any law or policy that weakens or does away with the requirement to gauge and share student and school progress.  We are pleased that student funding appears to no longer be threatened based on the political infighting of adults, but continue to stand firm in our call for Governor Brown to veto this bad law, as it strips away critical and federally required protections for students (and their parents) which provide annual information on student academic achievement.”

Previous Posts: CA Has a Plan for Using Test Scores — Even With No Tests (Updated)Torlakson Rebuts Duncan, Defends State Testing BillSuperintendent Deasy Not Happy With Latest Testing Bill

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