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Parents ask legislators: ‘Do you know’ the cost of testing?

Mike Hope

Rep. Mike Hope is prime sponsor of HB 1293.

House Bill 1293, the Parent Right-to-Know testing transparency bill, requires school districts to publicize how much time and money they spend on standardized testing.

As the debate over student testing heats up in Seattle and across the nation, the bill is timely.

It’s estimated our public school system spends $100 million or more administering standardized tests annually, but gauging the cost to local school districts is difficult, as is determining how much time standardized testing takes away from classroom learning.

Several parents testified in support of the bill Thursday morning in the state House Education Committee – the bill’s first public hearing in Olympia. In the Senate, a similar bill is SB 5366, sponsored by Sen. Christine Rolfes.

Michelle Purcell, a Snohomish parent of three children, asked the House committee members:

“How much do standardized tests cost?”

“How much classroom instructional time is diverted from lesson plans to prepare students for standardized tests?”

“How are test results used to improve my children’s education?”

“I have no idea!” Purcell told the committee. “Do you know?”

HB 1293 has bipartisan support and is sponsored by Republican Rep. Mike Hope from Snohomish County. While the bill originated with parents, it is also one of WEA’s priority bills this session.

“With so much time being dedicated to test prep, I watched my child go without a single science lesson last year until late spring, after the MSP (Measure of Student Progress) had been given,” said Cindy Perry, another Snohomish parent. “Are these tests more important than science, smaller class sizes and additional resources to aid our struggling learners?”

The MSP is a state-mandated standardized test.

Email your legislators in support of HB 1293.

Bargaining rights

Thursday afternoon, WEA leaders testified in support of House Bill 1348, which grants community and technical college faculty members the right to bargain salary increments. They’re the only category of education employees barred from negotiating salaries. Bellevue College AHE President Doug Brown and WEA-Higher Education Coordinating Committee President Carla Nacarrato-Sinclair testified in support of the bill. Like 1293 above, HB 1348 is a WEA priority. The bill is in the Labor and Workforce Development Committee.

Restricting revenue

There are three measures in the state Senate that would make Tim Eyman’s two-thirds supermajority for new revenue a constitutional amendment. WEA opposes all three, which were scheduled for a hearing Thursday in the Senate Government Operations Committee: Senate Joint Resolution 8200 , Senate Joint Resolution 8204 and Senate Joint Resolution 8205.

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