Legislation proposed in the state Senate would ban standardized testing in pre-kindergarten through second grade, eliminate some testing for older students and strengthen the privacy of students’ personal information.
The recommendations are in a 30-page report issued today by Senate Education Committee chairman John Flanagan, R-Nassau County. Flanagan held five hearings around the state to hear growing concerns from students, parents and educators about the increase in testing as well as a new evaluation system for teachers.
“All five hearings were replete with heartfelt, emotional testimony about children experiencing severe stress, anxiety and frustration as they struggled to learn the new curriculum while taking numerous, lengthy tests on the new material,” Flanagan’s report said.
Flanagan’s report is likely to be the basis for legislative action on Common Core—the statewide testing initiative for third through eighth graders that has drawn criticism from lawmakers at recent hearings. The legislative session resumes in January.
The state’s teachers’ union has called for a three-year moratorium on student testing.
Parents have already knocked a statewide plan to aggregate students’ personal information and test scores through a new website being created by inBloom, a national company. Parents and students have warned that students’ data shouldn’t be compromised through a new website, which has yet to launch.
Flanagan said he will introduce legislation that would strengthen privacy security, establish civil and criminal penalties for unauthorized disclosure and create independent oversight with the state Education department of privacy concerns.
Flanagan also proposed to require the education commissioner to report on the effectiveness of the Common Core standards and to have an independent audit of the program.
Education Commissioner John King has defended the programs. He said Common Core will make students more prepared for college and careers. He has said that the inBloom could not be compromised.
Here’s the report: