Douglas County School District experienced sweeping changes in 2009 when the community cleaned out the school board and replaced it with a majority of outspoken, ‘roll up your sleeves and get it down’ kind of board members. Fast forward to 2014 and DougCo has become the first school board to create district initiated vouchers for private schools (heading to Supreme Court, courtesy of the ACLU), the first district to open the contract negotiations between the district and the teachers union to the public, the first district to fire its union–and now DougCo is a leader in objecting to the state and federally mandated trend of excessively testing students.
From the Douglas County School District Website:
In a unanimous vote, the Douglas County School District (DCSD) Board of Education passed a resolution to address “testing madness.”
The DCSD assessment calendar illustrates the urgent need for change. Students at one level or another are taking tests nearly every day of the year, most of which are mandated by state law.
“The over testing of our students has been a hot topic among our parents, teachers, and students,” said DCSD Board of Education President Kevin 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.”
According to district officials, a confluence of legislation has created an increase in testing this year. On top of the intensive TCAP schedule and trial testing for the new PARCC tests, school districts across Colorado, including Douglas County, have been forced to add more standardized exams in an effort to meet new mandates.
“The unfortunate result of the complex web of state laws has been over-testing,” continued Larsen. “We are committed to doing what is best for our students and that means finding a solution and some relief from over testing.”
According to the resolution, “the Board of Education is actively advancing legislation which would provide school districts in Colorado an option to be fully accountable for creating quality, local assessments that measure what matters most for our students, and reporting those results to the community. The legislation would also recognize a parent’s right to exempt their students from the statewide standardized tests without risk of a penalty to the student, teacher, school or district.”
Douglas schools seek to opt out of federal, state standardized testing (Your Hub / The Denver Post)