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Rep. Bonamici & Sen. Baldwin Introduce Bill to Improve and Reduce Testing in Schools

January 20, 2015
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Highlighting the need to eliminate low-quality and unnecessary assessments from our nation’s classrooms, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01) and Senator Tammy Baldwin (WI) introduced the “Support Making Assessments Reliable and Timely” (SMART) Act today.

“This bipartisan legislation will help identify and eliminate redundant tests that are monopolizing time and resources and creating a stressful environment in our nation’s classrooms,” Congresswoman Bonamici said. “Assessments can help determine students’ progress, inform instruction, and support academic growth, but many tests don’t support teaching and learning. I am thrilled that Senator Baldwin is supporting the bill. Her leadership on education issues in the Senate will help the SMART Act gain further momentum. As my House and Senate colleagues discuss reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, I will continue to advocate for the provisions in the SMART Act.”

“This commonsense legislation gives us the tools and resources to work with states and districts to reduce unnecessary assessments, especially by targeting redundant and low-quality tests,” Senator Baldwin said. “In doing so, the SMART Act will also free up more time for teaching and learning, allowing educators to focus on preparing students to be college and career ready. As Congress begins what I hope is a truly bipartisan process to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, I’m proud to lead this effort to address one of the shortcomings of No Child Left Behind.”    

The SMART Act effectively targets federal funding to empower states to audit their assessment systems and eliminate poor quality and redundant tests. The legislation also provides for states and local education agencies to improve their use of assessment data, which might include providing more time for educators to design instruction based on test results and speeding the delivery of test data to students and families.

The bipartisan bill has broad support, including endorsements from the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, the Education Trust, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCR), the Center for American Progress, the National Center for Learning Disabilities, National Council of La Raza, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

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