The Mason City School District is joining other school districts in the Greater Cincinnati School Advocacy Network and the Alliance for High Quality in Education in calling for Ohio to pare back state tests when authorizing the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)- which replaces No Child Left Behind.
“We appreciate the increased rigor of the new learning standards, and are satisfied with Ohio’s Learning Standards in math and English language arts,” explains Dr. Gail Kist-Kline, Superintendent. However, I continue to have concerns about Ohio’s accountability system – and the Ohio Department of Education’s commitment to use the Every Child Succeeds Act as an opportunity to give relief from the state driven over testing of children.”
There has been an overemphasis on testing at the federal and state level. It is time to give back control of assessing students’ learning and teacher and principal effectiveness to local school boards - the elected officials closest to the students in their community.
“After three years with three different sets of tests in Ohio, it is time to re-think how the state holds schools accountable. I recommend that Ohio engage in the minimum amount of testing required under ESSA,” suggests Kist-Kline.
This could mean reducing the number of subjects tested at each grade level, and administering the nationally-normed ACT to all high school students for assessment of English, mathematics, reading science, and writing - rather than end-of-course exams.
The opportunity presented by ESSA to return control of educational decisions to State and Local officials is one that must not be squandered. By partnering with local boards of education, superintendents, and educators, Ohio has the chance to rebuild bridges of trust and truly create an assessment and accountability system that works for Ohio’s children, families and educators.
Mason is joined in these advocacy efforts by the Greater Cincinnati School Advocacy Network and the Alliance.