I support the right of parents to make decisions regarding the education of their children. Parents should play an active role in determining what standardized tests their children take. I want to make sure this decision is clear in that as we go forward and deal with the Student Success Act, people know where we come down.--Rep. Tom Reed
According to Tom:
The Student Success Act looks to reform and improve education from kindergarten to 12th grade. The act is aiming to replace the current national accountability scheme based on high stakes tests with state-led accountability systems. Other goals include ensuring parents have the information they need to hold local schools accountable and preventing the Secretary of Education from coercing states into adopting Common Core and any other common standards, among others.
How the current national accountability scheme based on high stakes tests might differ from possible state-led accountability systems, Tom doesn’t say. The Student Success Act is HR-5. It was brought up for debate in Congress this Spring then withdrawn due to opposition from right-leaning Republicans. Tom doesn’t mention that.
No Child Left Behind expired on September 30, 2007, yet Congress has continued to fund it year after year. Now, there are people in Congress who want to reauthorize this big-government program. Instead of doubling down on No Child Left Behind (with H.R. 5), Congress should stop funding it. The law expired more than seven years ago! We owe it to our children—and we have a constitutional duty as members of Congress—to return education decisions to parents and states.–Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI)
Reed reportedly said Common Core focuses on teaching to a test instead of educating students, that’s wrong. Common Core focuses on curriculum.
“Parents should decide what is in their child’s best interest, not bureaucrats in Albany or Washington, D.C.,” Reed said. “We care for these children. We care for those that will potentially be adversely impacted because of ambiguity dealt with the fact that they opted out of taking those tests.”
How far should parental discretion go? Should parents decide if their children should study math, take tests, be graded on their performance? Should they be allowed to opt-out if they find the tests too hard? States have long mandated that schools teach Civics; is that reasonable, or should local districts decide?
Proposed legislation by Reed will also aim to prevent states from reducing funding to school districts due to parents opting their children out of Common Core testing.
Reportedly, Reed’s legislation will take the form of an amendment to HR-5. Tom doesn’t note any possible objections to his proposal nor does he recognize bitter opposition to HR-5 among Republicans.
“It’s not fair that a local school district could be designated as ‘failing’ or lose funding due to higher opt out numbers,” Reed said.
How would Tom Reed ensure that parents have the information they need to hold local schools accountable? Would it be fair if a district didn’t meet standards and no one knew?
© William Hungerford – April 2015