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Testing Uproar Hits Annapolis Today

PHOTO: Annapolis takes up debate about school testing today at a House of Delegates hearing. Photo credit: Deborah C. Smith
PHOTO: Annapolis takes up debate about school testing today at a House of Delegates hearing. Photo credit: Deborah C. Smith
February 5, 2014

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Maryland takes up debate about school testing today at a House of Delegates hearing.

Del. Eric Luedtke, D-Burtonsville, is sponsoring legislation that would cancel this spring's Maryland School Assessments - testing that is required under federal law, but states can request a waiver.

Parents, teachers and others have good reason to support the move, Luedtke said, because Common Core curriculum roll-outs around the state would make the long-used assessments inaccurate.

"People look at this and say giving kids a test that they're not being taught the curriculum for is ridiculous," Luedtke said.

A new Common Core-based assessment will be used next year. The Maryland State Education Association and the Maryland Association of Boards of Education agree and are backing the bill. The Maryland Education Department supports administering the tests - promoting value in determining school performance.

Luedtke admitted that the state is in a tough spot because of the requirement to test. But even if legislation doesn't move quickly enough to force a request for a waiver, the state still could skip the testing and pay a penalty. His guess is that the penalty would be less than the cost of testing : $6 million. He sees a benefit in the discussion because the public has become so engaged in what's going on with education.

"Common Core implementation and implementation of the new PARCC Assessments - I think people are very worried about whether or not we're doing that right," he said.

The No Child Left Behind Act requires yearly testing for grades three through eight.

The hearing on the bill, HB 117, will begin at 1 p.m. before the House Ways and Means Committee. Details of the bill are online at mgaleg.maryland.gov.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MD