SBAC no longer mandatory in Idaho schools
February 22, 2017
By Idaho Representative Ronald Nate
Sometimes a bill doesn't need to pass in order
to have an impact. Merely bringing the issue
forward causes key decision makers to reconsider
current practices, explore alternatives, and
respond to citizen input. The bill to repeal the
Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC)
test is a perfect example.
Because of parents' feedback and legislative
pressure, the rules for K-12 education were
changed this year. The SBAC test (tied to Common
Core) is no longer a graduation requirement for
Idaho public school students.
Parents may opt their kids out of SBAC testing
and not have to worry about it affecting their
graduation plans. This is huge for those who
have researched the SBAC test, or standardized
testing in general, and have concerns about how
children are affected by them.
Parents no longer have to face the difficult
choice of having their children take a test they
see to be flawed and harmful, versus opting out
and being threatened with delayed or denied
graduation. The requirement is gone.
But where is the bill?
For the third year now, we have seen a bill to
repeal the SBAC test stalled in a committee. The
bill does not forbid SBAC tests, instead it
removes the requirement for all Idaho school
districts to administer the long, expensive, and
stressful test to their students. School
districts liking the SBAC test would still use
it, but others could opt for a less-expensive
and preferable test for their students.
Even though the bill is stalled yet again, its
impact is real because of the rescinded SBAC
testing graduation requirement. Please help me
spread the word about SBAC testing being
Parents and children need to know they can opt
out, and that districts should not apply
pressure or impose penalties or consequences for
students not taking the test.
In the meantime, I will keep working to get the
bill heard and debated in the House Education
Committee. Many parents, students, teachers, and
districts are asking for action, and I will do
my best to help get their voices fully heard in
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