Bush's Student-Testing Plan Passes House Test

 
President Bush's proposal to dramatically increase the testing of public elementary school students passed a congressional milestone Tuesday (5/22) despite strong opposition from liberal and conservative members of the U.S. House, who complained that Bush's plan is an "unfunded mandate on the states."

Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich) and Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass) had tried to amend a bill reauthorizing federal spending on education to eliminate mandatory annual testing in grades 3-8. The White House regards testing as the key element of Bush's education reform initiative and threatened to veto the bill if it wasn't included.

Experts estimate the proposed testing would collectively cost the states up to $7 billion over the next five years. The House version of the reauthorization, officially known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act or HR-1, provides only $320 million to defer the expense.

The Hoekstra-Frank amendment failed 255 -173. Fifty-two Republicans, most of them from the party's conservative wing, joined118 Democrats in opposing testing.

"The core of this bill is to require real accountability from every school in America that gets federal dollars," said Rep. John Boehner, (R-Ohio) chief sponsor of HR-1. The bill gives the federal government legal authority to provide school aid. The federal government contributes about seven percent of the cost of U.S. public education. the legislation would shortchange the states and fail to bring the educational improvement the testing is supposed to produce. "If the Federal government isn't going to put enough money in it then the states can either make up the difference with resources in their state budgets or I'm afraid some of them will look for cheaper tests. There is a garden variety of tests out there that really won't accomplish what is supposed to be the goal of this testing."

Advocates of grades 3-8 testing hope that it will tell schools and teachers which students are struggling, which will help direct resources to those students.

During House debate, Rep. Tim Roemer (D-Indiana) said, "Those that want to rip out the testing proposal in this bill are for the status quo. Sixty percent of the kids in the inner city can't read at reading level. A test done right is not a high stakes test. It is a diagnostic tool."

Rep. Tierney countered that there are only a few testing companies, and that they are already hard-pressed to meet a growing state demand for tests. "You have to wonder how they (testing companies) are going to get up to scale on that - there is no time for phasing this in -to develop a well designed test."
 
X

Related Stories

    • Stateline Story
    August 22, 2012
    image description

    Despite improvements across the board, the majority of high school graduates still aren’t college or career ready, according to a report by ACT, which administers the ACT college entrance test. more

    • Stateline Story
    September 3, 2010
    image description

    TODAY'S TAKE: The Obama administration is continuing its recent effort to make schools across states adhere to the same standards. On Thursday, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan rolled out a plan to prepare common standardized tests for states to adopt. The new tests, which would replace existing state assessments, have already run into some political opposition. more

    • Stateline Story
    March 25, 2010
    image description

    TODAY'S TAKE: Reading scores for American children have barely budged over the past two years, a new federal report says, an assessment U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan calls sobering. Scores for fourth-graders nationwide were flat between 2007and 2009,  according to the National Assessment of Education Progress, often referred to as the Nation's Report Card. For eighth-graders, reading scores improved by one point on a 500-point scale. Students in grades 4 and 8 take reading and math tests every few years to produce the reports.
    more

    • Stateline Story
    January 17, 2008
    image description

    Order your copy today.A lot hinges on how well students perform on their state tests, including the principal's job and a school's reputation. Yet the difficulty of state tests differs widely. See what's at stake in this excerpt from "State of the States 2008," Stateline.org's annual report on significant state policy developments and trends released Jan. 16.
    more

    • Stateline Story
    September 25, 2007
    image description

    (Updated 2:20 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, Sept. 25)American parents can breathe a sigh of relief: their children are making substantial strides in math, and slower but still significant gains in reading, according to new national test results released today. The improvements are sure to boost claims that the controversial No Child Left Behind Act is succeeding in raising student achievement.
    more

PCS.PRODUCTION.1.20140221.1210 (PEWSUWVMWAPP02)