U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Statement on Obama Administration Efforts to Reduce Over-Testing in Schools
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released a statement regarding an announcement that the Obama Administration would be working with states to reduce over-testing in schools and make testing smarter. The actions being taken by the Department of Education are consistent with legislation sponsored by Senator Baldwin.
In January, Senator Baldwin introduced the “Support Making Assessments Reliable and Timely” (SMART) Act which would eliminate low-quality and unnecessary assessments from our nation’s classrooms, while better aligning remaining tests to the curriculum.
“I applaud this commonsense move from the Administration that I am hopeful will gives states and schools the tools and resources to reduce unnecessary assessments, especially by targeting redundant and low-quality tests,” Senator Baldwin said. “In addition, this will also free up more time for teaching and learning, allowing educators to focus on preparing students to be college and career ready. As Congress continues what I hope will remain a truly bipartisan process to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, I’m proud to lead this effort in the Senate to address one of the shortcomings of No Child Left Behind.”
A provision largely modeled after Senator Baldwin’s SMART Act received bipartisan support and was unanimously included by the HELP Committee in the No Child Left Behind (NLCB) rewrite, knowns as the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 (ECAA). The provision would move away from the punitive nature of NCLB and help remove the pressure of testing from teachers, students and parents. It would also help states further address the burdensome side of testing by supporting their efforts to streamline and improve their assessment systems. In April, HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) called Senator Baldwin’s provision a “significant contribution” to the overall legislation.
By a vote of 81-77, the U.S. Senate in July approved the ECAA, which included Senator Baldwin’s provision and several other priorities. Senator Baldwin is now pushing for House and Senate negotiators to come to an agreement on a final bill to send to President Obama’s desk for signature.
Additionally, Senator Baldwin’s SMART Act has been endorsed by the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, the Education Trust, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCR), the Center for American Progress, the National Center for Learning Disabilities, the National Council of La Raza, the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Democrats for Education Reform, Third Way, Tech Plus, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
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