State Rep. Vernon G. Smith (D-Gary), ranking Democrat on the Indiana House Education Committee, expressed his pleasure to see House Republicans adopting ideas from House Democrats regarding standardized testing in Indiana. House Democrats have joined with House Republicans January 13, 2020, to remedy the repercussions from a decade’s worth of bad education policy and wasted state dollars.
House Bill 1001 and House Bill 1002 would “hold harmless” both schools and teachers, respectively, from negative consequences due to poor student performance on ILEARN.
“I am pleased to see this reversal in Republican apathy toward education issues, and fully support decoupling schools and teachers from an exam that was so defective when taken in 2019 that only one of every three students passed,” Smith said. “However, these measures are an attempt to Band-Aid a much larger issue: high stakes testing as a whole.”
“Republicans’ obsession with standards-based testing, hidden under the guise of accountability, has been demoralizing for Hoosier teachers and students. They know, and we know, that exams like ILEARN and ISTEP are incapable of reflecting holistic achievement, and we look forward to working with House Republicans to find better ways to measure success in Indiana’s classrooms.”
Nearly $133 million was poured into standardized tests in the past two years that the state legislature has decided not to use as a tool to evaluate students. Since 2009, state tests, the material covered on the tests, or the company administering the test have been changed six times, three of which have taken place since 2015.
House Democrats support revisiting the structure of our state’s standardized testing system and listening to what teachers think will work best for their schools and students.