Today, Rep. Mike Hope,<http://houserepublicans.wa.gov/members/mike-hope/> (R-Lake Stevens), met with Michelle Purcell and Erin McBrien, part of a Snohomish parents group who recently garnered media attention<http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20120326/NEWS01/703269935/-1/news01> for keeping their kids from taking state Measurements of Students Progress (MSP) exams. Hope is in favor of reducing mandated tests in order to cut test expenditures and free-up funds for other uses. MSP exams are only given to third through eighth graders. The receipt of federal funds is not tied to scores or whether the tests are administered.
“Parents in my community are concerned because they see teachers being laid off while money is used for tests that don’t benefit their kids,” said Hope. “Parents are having to pay for additional tutoring outside of school, because kids aren’t getting enough time with their teachers and class sizes are increasing. Meanwhile, the state spends millions of dollars on the MSP.”
Hope has supported changes to assessments and test funding in the past. In 2011, he sponsored House Bill 1519<http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=1519> which gave schools flexibility in how they test students with cognitive disabilities. Until the bill became law in July, the practice was for students to take a complicated assessment.
This year, Hope sponsored legislation (House Bill 2633<http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=2633>) that would give parents information about required assessments and the cost for administering them. Hope plans to propose legislation that would allow parents and school districts to opt out of state mandated tests. The legislation is necessary in order to avoid repercussions for students whose parents have opted out.
“We need to ensure that students aren’t being penalized. If they aren’t allowed to play football or participate in dance because they didn’t take the MSP test that is unfair. We need legislation that makes opting out a legal alternative for parents and an accepted option for students,” Hope said.
Both Hope and the Snohomish parents group have dedicated themselves to this issue and will continue the fight to change mandated tests in Washington state. The group of parents, officially named We Support Schools Snohomish, has set up a Facebook page where you can learn more about it.
You can learn more about Rep. Mike Hope’s stance on education and other important topics by visiting his website: www.houserepublicans.wa.gov/hope<http://www.houserepublicans.wa.gov/hope>.