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Press Release

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

CCSSO Opposes Senate Opt-Out Amendment

Contact:Olympia Meolaolympia.meola@ccsso.org202-336-7071

Washington, D.C. (July 14, 2015) - Chris Minnich, the executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), today sent a letter to U.S. Senate leadership, expressing the organization's opposition to Amendment 2162 to the Every Child Achieves Act (S. 1177). 

In addition, Terry Holliday, Kentucky's Commissioner of Education and Past-President of CCSSO's Board of Directors, issued the following statement about the amendment:
"As a state, information on how students are performing is essential to improving learning outcomes for all children. We cannot improve public education without a clear understanding of how each child is performing academically and how schools are meeting the needs of all students. If this amendment passes, it will put students, parents, teachers and schools at a disadvantage by taking away the opportunity to see a complete picture of how kids are performing and how we can help them." 

The following is an excerpt from Chris Minnich's letter: 

"This amendment would not just allow parents to opt their student out of assessments, but would also not include these students in assessment participation rate calculations. One of CCSSO's top priorities for ESEA reauthorization is the continuation of annual statewide assessments for all students in reading and language arts and mathematics. It is critical that parents, teachers, and school and state leaders receive meaningful information at least once a year on how each student is performing and how schools are working to meet their needs. We cannot accomplish this goal if parents refuse to allow their children to take a test. Instead, states, schools, teachers and parents will be left with an incomplete and, therefore, inaccurate picture of how their local school is performing.

We must ensure all students receive the same assessments as an academic checkup at least once a year so states can better identify the students who need increased support and the schools that need more focused interventions. It is important to remember that tests are not just for the state. Annual assessments can better aid parents and teachers in understanding how individual students are performing, and what steps they should take in the future to make sure every child is on grade level and striving to be college and career-ready by the 12th grade."

Read the full letter here.

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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.