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February11

House Ed. opts against assessment exemption

Exemptions for state education assessments will not be allowed barring a smoke out on the House floor.

 

Members of the House Education committee narrowly defeated House Bill 1093, which would have provided for the exemption of certain students from the requirement to take assessment tests, on an 8-7 vote.

 

South Dakota Secretary of Education Melody Schopp told committee members public education is mandated to follow the laws set by the government and allowing for assessment exemptions would set a dangerous precedent.

 

“The message we are sending today is: let’s abide by the laws, excep the ones we don’t like,” Sec. Schopp said the committee would share with the public if HB 1093 were passed.

 

“(Assessment) is in state law. We’ve been testing since 1997. Testing isn’t new”

 

Proponents of the bill said parents should be the deciders whether or not their student takes part in the assessment.

 

Sec. Schopp, who endorsed parental choice in education, noted parents can choose to have their children educated publicly or privately – where they wouldn’t be required to take the assessment – and said if students are opted out of assessment school districts wouldn’t receive the complete picture of their students’ success.

 

“(School boards) believe in accountability,” ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany testified in opposition of the bill. “How can a school hold ourselves to the state standards…with an incomplete list of students? How can we make sure we’re doing our job?”

 

“Do not take these tests away from school boards.”

 

Pogany’s sentiment was echoed by Rep. Timothy Johns and the vote of the committee.

 

“These academic assessments…determines whether we’re meetind the needs of all our students,” Rep. Johns said. “It’s critical our educators be held accountable.”

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