OPINION: Local Control is Key to Standardized Testing

| May 11, 2015 | 0 Comments | Opinions
Tim Singstock, photo courtesy of his campaign.

Tim Singstock, photo courtesy of his campaign.

by Tim Singstock
Candidate for School Board Chairman – At Large.

It’s that time of year again.  With kids in school and friends who teach, one thing is on everyone’s mind: SOLs!

When it comes to education, local control is best for Prince William families and teachers.  U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan does not agree.  In response to a growing standardized testing “opt out” movement in New York, he threatens to withhold Federal funding from school districts.

Presently, the Commonwealth of Virginia does not provide for a specific “opt out” policy on SOLs.  The following statement is taken from a Virginia Department of Education memorandum regarding opt out on SOLs:

“In kindergarten through eighth grade, where the administration of Virginia assessment program tests are required by the Board of Education, each student shall be expected to take the tests” and “each student in middle and secondary schools shall take all applicable end-of-course SOL tests following course instruction.”

However, the General Assembly is committed to reviewing and reforming SOLs.  As this work goes forward, collaboration between Richmond and local school boards will provide the best solution for Prince William families.  Parents and teachers in Prince William County echo the feelings of Americans nationwide when they voice frustration over standardized testing.

To be fair, we need some standardized testing, but policy should not be driven by Federal bureaucrats.  Recall that the Federal government’s contribution to the PWCS operating budget is about 3%.  Most of this funding is driven by the number of students with a disability and/or economically disadvantaged status.  Is this the money Arne Duncan wants to withhold from your schools?  This is further evidence of the “money mandate mismatch” in Federal education policy.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe recently vetoed a bill that would have prohibited Common Core in Virginia.

I have been a consistent opponent of Common Core and a strong proponent for local control for our community schools.  Now more than ever, we need to stand up to the Federal government’s intrusion into our schools.  How can the Federal government possibly develop a solution that works best for New York, Prince William County and every other school system in the country?  The government that governs closest to the people governs best.  In this case, leave the decision on SOL opt out policies to your state legislators and school board members.

Wall, Patrick. “As Opt Out Numbers Grow, Arne Duncan says Feds May Have to Step In.” Chalkbeat New York. April 21st, 2015

http://www.doe.virginia.gov/administrators/superintendents_memos/2013/142-13.shtml

This post is the opinion of its writer and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Bristow Beat, its editorial staff, reporters, or sponsors. 

© 2015, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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