After months of wrangling over the language and the scope of the proposal — debates that local media reports often became “a shouting match,” with the public gallery at the legislature filled to the rafters — the final compromise version of the two bills was approved by the state House of Representatives on June 23 by a vote of 31-5 and then a few days later the state senate followed suit, voting 15-6 to send the bill to the desk of Democratic Governor Jack Markell.
It now goes to the governor, Democrat Jack Markell, who opposed it, based on concerns by business leaders and civil rights groups. The legislation has strong parental support.
In Delaware, a majority of parents seem to support the bill. In fact, the state Parent Teacher Association (PTA) openly called for its passage.
PTA President Terri Hodges told DelawareOnline, “Smarter Balanced in its current form does not provide a true picture of student learning. "The results of tests are not available until the end of the year. That provides very little value to me as a parent or for a teacher.”
If the legislation is signed into law by the governor, beginning in August, a child’s legal guardian or parent may “opt out” of having the student take the state’s annual assessment test, which in Delaware bears the bureaucratically devised name of the Smarter Balanced Assessment System.
The Delaware media report that Governor Markell is opposed to the measure, although he reportedly has not decided whether he will veto it. According to NewsWorks in Delaware:
"The Governor has not said whether he will sign the bill," said Jonathon Dworkin, a spokesman for the governor, in an e-mail.
"He has made clear that he has concerns about what he's heard from civil rights leaders and the business community, as well as about a potential loss of federal funds. He understands and agrees that there is too much testing, which is why we launched a statewide effort to review all testing done at the state and local levels and identify opportunities to reduce it.”
If only our Seattle Council PTSA or Washington State PTA would follow suit.