U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, Lobby to Retain Annual Tests

Associate Editor

The mandated testing schedule that is a centerpiece of the No Child Left Behind Act should stay in any rewrite of the law, according to two major organizations representing business interests.

As my colleague Lauren Camera writes in the Politics K-12 blogthe biggest policy debate emerging in the process of reauthorizing the law is whether or not to preserve its annual testing requirements and how those tests should play into a re-imagined accountability system.

Business leaders have said they are interested in this issue because of their concern about students’ preparation for the jobs of the future, and their ability to fill those positions requiring critically necessary skills when they are ready to enter the workforce.

In a letter sent Friday to leaders of the Senate education committee, which is working on the reauthorization, the business groups and four other organizations wrote: “…We are deeply concerned with the idea of ending the current system of annual reading and mathematics assessments in grades three through eight (and at least once in high school).”

These assessments are the cornerstone of maintaining accountability for results throughout the K-12 education system, particularly for disadvantaged children who need help the most. 

“Assessment policy is one of several issues that are important to our organizations – and not the only issue that will determine our ultimate positions on the legislative proposals you develop,” the organizations wrote, along with the the Council of Chief State School Officers, the Education Trust, the National Council of La Raza, and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Read more at our Politics K-12 blog.

Over the past year, the Business Roundtable and the chamber have actively worked to support the Common Core State Standards, in the face of pushback from opponents to the standards in various states.

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