Congressman Gibson introduces bill to shift classroom emphasis from testing to teaching
“Student Testing Improvement & Accountability Act” empowers state and local school systems
March 12, 2014 -
Congressman Chris Gibson (NY-19) announced the introduction of H.R. 4172, the "Student Testing Improvement & Accountability Act," which makes common-sense reforms to the No Child Left Behind Act by reducing the frequency of federally-mandated assessments in U.S. schools.
Congressman Gibson introduced the bipartisan legislation March 6 with Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-9).
“My constituents have overwhelmingly expressed their concerns with the recent shift in education policy from a focus on teaching to a focus on testing,” said Congressman Gibson. “Parents and educators across Upstate New York know that maintaining this approach will continue to hamstring our teachers and students.”
“Working in Arizona schools for nearly a decade taught me the importance of empowering teachers to teach to the content they want their students to master—not simply to teach the material needed to know the next upcoming standardized test,” said Congresswoman Sinema.
H.R. 4172 replaces current annual testing requirements for math and language arts with the exact same grade-span testing requirements in current law for science classes. This returns federal testing requirements to the once-per-grade-span standards established before 2001, when math and reading assessments were typically conducted once in grades 3-5, once in grades 6-9, and once in grades 10-12.
Under H.R. 4172, the states would retain the ability to exceed federal testing requirements if they seek to do so.
“I have lived a life of accountability, and I understand the need for a means to accurately gauge school performance, but I reject the notion that the only way to achieve this is through burdensome over-testing,” said Congressman Gibson.
The National Education Association (NEA), which represents 3 million educators across the country, announced its support for the bill.
“The over-emphasis on standardized testing has caused considerable collateral damage in too many schools, including narrowing the curriculum, teaching to the test, reducing love of learning, pushing students out of school and driving teachers out of the profession,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “This bill by Rep. Gibson and Rep. Sinema would help put a stop to these negative consequences and help ensure that all students succeed.”