February 9, 2012

(Denver) – Republicans killed a bill recognizing parents’ right to “opt out” their children from high-stakes standardized testing when Rep. Judy Solano’s HB12-1049 died on a 5-4 party-line vote today in the House State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee.

Federal law requires a 95 percent participation rate in standardized testing in every state, in every district, and in every school.  Colorado law goes even further, demanding that “every student enrolled in a public school shall be required to take the assessments.”

To ensure compliance, the state lowers the accreditation rating of any school district that doesn’t meet the 95 percent standard. In the last two years, 53 Colorado schools and 14 districts have had their accreditation rating lowered.

High stakes mean high pressure. Several parents testified today that they consider the Colorado Student Assessment Program tests to be poor measures of their children’s education, but that they or their children had been threatened by teachers or school administrators if the children skipped a CSAP test.

“The Supreme Court has ruled many times that the parents have the final say, the final right, the final responsibility for their child’s education,” Rep. Solano (D-Brighton) told the committee. “There should not be government, whether it be federal or state policy, that supersedes that right.”

Rep. Larry Liston (R-Colorado Springs) acknowledged the issue of “government intrusions” into family decisions, but voted against the bill anyway.

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