Bedford Schools Seek An End To No Child Left Behind Act

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The Bedford Board of Education, headed by Susan Elion Wollin (pictured), has adopted a resolution calling for the federal government to end the No Child Left Behind Act. Photo Credit: Liz Button

BEDFORD, N.Y. ‒ Bedford schools are calling on the federal government to repeal the No Child Left Behind Act, district officials announced Thursday.

A Resolution on High-Stakes Testing was adopted unanimously by the Bedford Central District Board of Education at its Feb. 6 meeting. The measure seeks to overturn the 2001 act, which requires states to develop student assessments in order to receive federal funding for schools, officials said. 

It is modeled on one collaboratively written by a number of national education advocacy organizations, including the Forum for Education and Democracy, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the National Education Association and the New York Performance Standards Consortium and passed by more than 360 Texas school boards as of April 23, 2012.

An over-reliance on standardized testing leads to teaching driven by testing, according to the resolution, undermining a school climate that promotes a love of learning.

The emphasis on standardized testing wastes time, money and energy, narrows curriculum and restricts creativity and critical thinking skills, the resolution says.

It urges multiple forms of evidence of student learning and not mandating any fixed role for using student test scores in evaluating teachers, officials announced Thursday.

The resolution also calls on Gov. Andrew Cuomo, State Education Commissioner John B. King, the state legislature and the New York Board of Regents to reexamine the recently adopted Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) educator evaluation process, an unfunded mandate from the state, according to officials.

"This resolution represents another component of our multi-level advocacy to address this issue of high-stakes testing and unfunded mandates," Susan Elion Wollin, president of the Board of Education, said in the district's release.

In an October 2012 survey, more than half of 500 school district residents queried, many without children in Bedford public schools, thought there was too much required state testing, district officials said.

Respondents rated the following as very or moderately valuable: grades on student projects, experiments, essays and classroom work: 92%; teacher-designed tests: 89%; graded homework: 76%; and state standardized tests: 64%.   

To augment the resolution with action, the Board of Education’s Policy Committee plans to adopt a new policy on student assessment, district officials said.

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