Lawmakers debate delaying new standardized tests set for 2014-2015 school year

DENVER - State lawmakers debate a new bill that would delay the implementation of Common Core Standards, which includes new standardized tests.

Senate Bill 136 would delay implementation of Common Core Standards in Colorado by one year. It would also create an Academic Standards Task Force to study the implementation of the new standards.

The standards were adopted by Colorado from a Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).

According to PARCC's website, the goal for the new standards and tests is to, "build a pathway to college and career readiness for all students, create high-quality assessments, support educators and make better use of technology in assessments."

At a press conference at the State Capitol Wednesday, some Colorado educators and parents said they do not agree with the standards.

Monument Academy Principal Lis Richard told 7NEWS the standards are not as rigorous as the state's current standards. Her district has decided not to implement the new Common Core Standards. However, legally, they have to use the PARCC assessment.

"I feel our teachers, our school board and our district can make decision for children in Monument much better than someone in Washington, D.C. can," Richard said. "Our kids are already needing help and we're taking more of the instructional time that they need to put them on computer to do more testing, it just doesn't make sense to educators."

Richard is not the only school administrator who feels there is too much testing in schools. In a announcement January 22nd, Douglas County School District Board of Education President Kevin Larsen issued this statement.

“The overtesting of our students has been a hot topic among our parents, teachers, and students,” said Larsen.  “We are committed to full accountability in measuring student outcomes with quality assessments.  Unfortunately, assessments like the new, state mandated PARCC test represent a lower level of skills than what our students require to be leaders in the 21st century.”

Educators are not only concerned about increased testing and standards, but also about the logistics. Stephanie Piko has worked in the IT department for Cherry Creek School Districts for 10 years, and has children in the district. She cited past standardized computer tests when the district had issues keeping up with the technology.

"If there's any network issues, if there's any WIFI issues, if there's too many children on the network at one time, it can cause a system problem," Piko said. "We run into network traffic just in our school district when we do our current testing and that's not a statewide test."

Piko told 7NEWS her elementary purchased 125 computers for the purpose of PARCC. A spokesperson for the district later emailed 7NEWS saying, "The district bought 18,300 Chromebooks for use in classrooms for instructional purposes...The computers will be used for testing next year, but were not purchased exclusively for the purpose."

Colorado joined the PARCC consortia as a governing member in August 2012. The testing is set to begin in the next school year.

A public hearing for Senate Bill 136 will be held in the Old Supreme Court Chambers at 1:30 Thursday, Feb. 13.


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