Too many tests? More parents  opt out; Congress may rewrite the                 Law

From:                                Experts say testing is on the rise. Parents who want their children to skip the tests say more people are joining their cause. The Common Core, a set of tougher classroom standards in more than 40 states, has further angered the critics. It outlines what kids should know and be able to do in every grade.

Lawmakers say they’re hearing loud and clear the message about too much unnecessary testing. New legislation might change the face of school testing.

Tests, And Consequences, May Change

This spring, Congress will discuss education as lawmakers attempt to rewrite No Child Left Behind. The 2002 law was intended to close educational gaps between rich and poor districts. It required annual testing to make sure that children were learning what they were supposed to learn. The law also established severe consequences for schools whose test scores didn’t show enough progress.

An agreement in the Senate on updating the education bill might reduce the pressure on schools to test. It would give the states, not the government, the job of ensuring that schools are doing good work. It also would let states decide what to do about those that aren’t.

The legislation “should produce fewer and more appropriate tests,” according to Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander and Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington. Alexander is the chairman and Murray is the ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

This is still some time away. Meanwhile, complaints this year about standardized testing have, if anything, grown greater. Some say that schools base their lessons on what students will be tested on — in other words, teach to test — and poor test-takers are at a disadvantage. Others complain that too much money is spent on testing. Bad test results can also lead to closed schools and lost jobs.