Today, Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) introduced legislation in the House of Representatives that creates a moratorium on the testing provisions in the No Child Left Behind Act, which currently govern the assessment standards used by each of the 50 states. The Save our Schools (S.O.S.) Act amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to remove all mandated testing provisions, freeing school districts and teachers from the "teaching to the test culture" and ending an inequitable system that punishes, instead of assists, those schools and students in the most dire need.
"Since its enactment in 2002, the No Child Left Behind Act has been a complete and utter failure," said Rep. Baca. "Instead of ensuring all of America's children have access to a quality education, the legislation has tied the hands of teachers and school administrators, forced students to learn inane testing strategies instead of real-life skills, and made billions in profits for standardized testing companies. I am proud to introduce this long overdue legislation, which can finally put America's education policy back in the hands of local officials, teachers and parents, and remove the influence of big corporations and Washington bureaucrats."
While the testing measures included in the No Child Left Behind Act were originally meant to serve as a means of holding school districts, administrators and teachers to the highest standards of accountability to ensure strong academic achievement for all students -- the measures have in fact had the opposite effect. The persistent problems caused by the testing mandates in the No Child Left Behind Act include over-emphasizing standardized testing, narrowing curriculum and instruction to focus on test preparation rather than richer academic learning, using sanctions that do not help improve schools, inappropriately excluding low-scoring children in order to boost test results, and failing to come up with successful measures of assessment for students with limited English skills and special needs students.
"No Child Left Behind prescribes a failed one-size-fits all approach to the development of America's youth," said Rep. Baca. "The S.O.S. Act is responsible legislation which can eliminate the misguided testing requirements that are currently in place, and instead return education policy to where it belongs, in the hands of our states and local governments."