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Bill to eliminate four tests advances in NC Senate

Posted March 2, 2011

— Legislation that would eliminate four standardized end-of-course exams in North Carolina's public schools is moving forward over a judge's argument that ending them would violate the state constitution.

The Senate Education Committee voted Wednesday in favor of House Bill 48, which would end standardized tests in U.S. history, algebra 2, physical science and civics and economics next school year because they aren't required by the federal government.

The bill also would direct state education officials to explain how they plan to offer alternatives that quantify student and teacher performance. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Bryan Holloway, R-Stokes, said it's better to have no system for a while than one that doesn't work.

"What we are against is a vehicle that we have identified that is broken and needs some repair," Holloway said.

The State Board of Education and Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson have come out against the bill, saying the tests provide accountability.

"It will be very difficult in the interim to be able to see how different schools are doing as far as student achievement," Atkinson said.

"The State Board of Education is trained. They have the expertise, the know-how to do it. We shouldn't be taking on that authority," said Sen. Floyd McKissick, D-Durham.

Teachers, on the other hand, like the measure. Brian Lewis, government relations manager for the North Carolina Association of Educators, said 95 percent of his group's members want it passed because they feel they are forced to fit their teaching to the end-of-course tests.

Education Senate committee OKs dropping four high school tests

Superior Court Judge Howard Manning, who has overseen a long-running lawsuit to ensure poorer school districts provide quality education, said last month that the end-of-course tests ensure all children have an equal opportunity to get a quality education. Eliminating them would be unconstitutional, he said.

Lawmakers chided Manning Wednesday, saying he should let them do their job and stick to hearing court cases.

"I do take offense at the judiciary stepping across the line," said Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph. "Making the law is our decision. We will do the law-making, and I'll let the judiciary handle the court case if there is one.

"To say it's unconstitutional to take certain courses out, no way," said Tillman, a former school administrator.

Holloway said skipping the four tests also would save the state $2.6 million next year.

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  • alwaysamused Mar 3, 2011

    LOL--the federal government doesn't want to make students accountable for civics? I guess ignorance of the political process works in the government's favor.

  • ncsuecu Mar 3, 2011

    Judge Manning has been dictating educational policy in NC for a while...Wake up people!

  • ncsuecu Mar 3, 2011

    A study on the correlation of the students scores on the end of course test should be done on the actual grades the students made. If for example, students who received A, B, C passed the end of course test then there is no reason for testing just to prove that students are learning what is being taught. The students grade would stand on it own without an EOC.

  • Plenty Coups Mar 3, 2011

    "Truth be told, they are only protecting them not to educate the kids but because of the large number - VOTES.

    Absolute nonsense. Both sides want their backing just like both sides want any group's backing. One side thinks they should be paid minimum wage like salaries, because after all, its "taxpayer" money while the other side believes more in a fair wage in line with the responsibilities and requirements of the profession.

    "As federal, state, and local elected officials are protecting teacher and giving them a lifetime job"

    50% of teachers quit by the end of their 3rd year. Care to guess why? There are no teacher's unions here in NC to "protect" their "lifetime" jobs. You should be rewarding those who do choose to stay in this very tough profession not bashing them.

    "Should these not tell where a student stands and how well the teacher as taught."

    Exams can't measure student motivation. There are still going to be end of year exams. Like we had in the past.

  • ljohnson247 Mar 3, 2011

    What has happen to the tests and exams in a class as the school year moves forward and the exams at the end of the year. Should these not tell where a student stands and how well the teacher as taught. As federal, state, and local elected officials are protecting teacher and giving them a lifetime job, do they really have to teach the students??? Truth be told, they are only protecting them not to educate the kids but because of the large number - VOTES.

  • Plenty Coups Mar 3, 2011

    "The standardized tests must be administered to the teachers to see if they are able teach the potential of "thinking" rather than "compliance.""

    Teachers already have to get a four year degree, get certification, pass a Praxis exam (a standardized test of knowledge)all to be paid about 20 thousand less than other college graduates. I think thats enough. Either that, or pay them more.

  • com_mon_sents Mar 2, 2011

    Every thing is geared to each and ever test in NC. The teachers do nothing but test, test, test, test, and more test. Can you blame them? That's all they hear each day, is getting the kids prepared for the test. If we throw out ALL TESTS, then teachers will actually be able to teach the kids to "THINK" instead of memmorizing facts, learning testing vocabulary, practicing test so that the format will not confuse the student etc. For everyone that think that throwing out the test...all I have to say is fINE.. keep it, but just be satisfied with the quality of teaching that teachers are only able to do, since this is what you want.

  • carrboroyouth Mar 2, 2011

    I don't think this is great news. First of all, US history and C&E are two of the most failed EOCs in high school (that's what I was told when I was in those classes). That truly baffles me because both exams are pretty easy. Personally, Algebra II is tricky for me, but you gotta know that stuff if you want any career in science. An important concept recently popped up in my college chemistry class.

    I don't think we should be passing kids who don't know the material, but that's just my two cents.

  • AlbertEinstein Mar 2, 2011

    The standardized tests must be administered to the teachers to see if they are able teach the potential of "thinking" rather than "compliance."

  • Word Mar 2, 2011

    Sen. Floyd McKissick, D-Durham, said "The State Board of Education is trained. They have the expertise, the know-how to do it. We shouldn't be taking on that authority." SERIOUSLY, SERIOUSLY, SERIOUSLY!! Ha Ha Ha Ha. You obviously do not know the NCDPI. TOO FUNNY! Ha Ha Ha Ha, OMG - I'm crying - Ha Ha Ha

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