Last week Representative Sam Creekmore and I filed bills in the House of Representatives addressing the mandated graduation and subject testing of our students.
We filed bills that would exempt our schools from all state tests this school year due to the Covid-imposed circumstances our schools are experiencing. This measure is similar to the suspension resolution we filed last year when the pandemic began. The State Board of Education followed our lead then, are proud to see that Stare Superintendent Carrie Wright is open to this conversation again.
All of us should recognize the extremely anxious and unusual learning experience many of our children are working in. In fact, about 23,000 of our students are not attending any school at all right now due to the extreme pressures of the current educational situation. Any kind of testing would likely not be a reasonable assessment of knowledge, much less a tool to determine promotion or graduation.
We have also filed other bills that will permanently abolish end-of-course assessments and instead use the ACT as the graduation-ready assessment in the future. We were extremely encouraged by the announcement of the SBE adopting the ACT Work Keys assessment program as part of the curriculum. We already acknowledge that if students score 17 on the ACT they are college ready. We know that the ACT meets the requirements of federal accountability. So, it only makes sense to use the ACT to determine graduation readiness.
What does all this mean? It means that It’s time that Mississippi ends this state-mandated, excessive, unnecessarily testing and let our teachers teach.
Our students deserve to learn in an environment that encourages expansive learning — not the rigid confinement of proscribed measures determined by professional, paid test makers.
Rep. Creekmore and I will be working hard to see these bills become law, and we ask for your support and encouragement along the way