Annapolis, MD – This week, the Maryland General Assembly passed Senator Roger Manno’s Senate Bill 452 – Education – Accountability Program – Assessments (Less Testing, More Learning Act of 2017), to address the problem of onerous and ultimately unproductive standardized testing requirements that hinder the progress of our children and their educators.
During a recent rally (above, photo credit to Stephen Cherry), Roger joined National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen Garcia, Maryland State Education Association President Betty Weller, House sponsor Delegate Eric Leudtke, and hundreds of state education leaders. “We’re moving quickly to fix this problem,” stated Roger. “Senate Bill 452 sets a statewide maximum amount of hours for the administration of district, state and federal mandated tests to 2.2% of a school year’s instruction time. This equates to about 23 hours of testing time, which is enough time each year to assess students and ensure that they are making progress toward college and career readiness. We also create district-level committees that involve school-based educators in the process of deciding which tests to eliminate or shorten.”
The problem is clear: students take more than 200 standardized tests throughout their time in school, with some taking more than 50 hours of tests a year in certain grades. These make it more difficult for students to receive, and for teachers to deliver, a well-rounded education. For example, students are often pulled from foreign language classes in order to attend PARCC test prep, while teachers in music, art, and physical education are pulled from their classes to proctor local assessments. Some schools even have reduced art education due to the pressure to score high on tested subjects. With such demands, teachers can’t possibly keep on track with their own instructional prep. It’s a cycle that has a detrimental impact on both educators and children, which diminishes the educational system as a whole.
“Students in Maryland’s 24 school districts can’t wait any longer. The time to act is now.”
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