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Press Release

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

CCSSO Joins Key Stakeholders in Opposing Opt-Out Amendment

Contact:Melissa McGrathmelissa.mcgrath@ccsso.org202-336-7034

Washington, D.C. (July 8, 2015) - The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) today joined nine other organizations in asking the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives to vote against any amendment to Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization legislation that would weaken test participation requirements.

"Weakening these requirements would undermine accountability provisions designed to ensure that all children - no matter their background or school - receive the education they deserve," the letter reads. "In particular, if students who opt out of statewide annual assessments are removed from the calculation of test participation rates, it could destroy the ability to use information on student outcomes to better focus our efforts on children who need the most help. This is unacceptable."

Read the full letter.

CCSSO also sent a separate letter to House leadership, expressing why state education chiefs are opposed to the proposed amendment. Here is an excerpt from the letter Chris Minnich, executive director of CCSSO, sent today:

"This amendment would be damaging to our schools, our districts, and most importantly, our students. It not only allows students to opt out of assessments, but it also would make sure these students are not included in the assessment participation rate calculations. By allowing students to opt out of statewide assessments, everyone loses: parents lose a tool in evaluating the progress their child is making each year, teachers lose the ability to assess and correct weak spots in their instructional plans, communities lose the knowledge of whether or not their school is meeting students' needs, and school and state leaders lose the reliable data they depend on to make critical decisions about how to better support students in the future.

"One of CCSSO's top priorities for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is the continuation of annual statewide assessments for all students in reading and language arts and mathematics. We strongly support the parent's role in their child's education, which is why we must ensure every parent receives information at least once a year on how their child is performing academically and how their child's school is working to meet the needs of all students. We cannot accomplish this goal if parents refuse to allow their children to take this important test. If that happens, states, schools, teachers and parents will be left with an incomplete and, therefore, inaccurate picture of how their local school is performing."

Read CCSSO's full letter.

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The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.