Student test reduction bill stalls in House committee

Photo: teachers at testing rally
Teacher rally in support of legislation that would reduce student testing earlier in the 2015 Colorado legislative session.

A committee of House lawmakers delayed action Monday on a bill that would put into law parents' right to opt out of state standardized tests.

The bill would prevent schools and teachers from facing penalties if participation in standardized tests drops below 95 percent of students. Former Democratic House Speaker Terrance Carroll said the bill is akin to killing an ant with a hammer.

"If the problem is that we’re weary of extensive statewide testing, weary of testing that doesn’t necessarily work properly, the answer is not to increase the ability of parents to opt out," Carroll said.

Parents and a school principal testified that too much testing is cutting into learning time. Former Democratic Rep. Judy Solano testified for the bill.

"Parents are clearly telling us they want their rights honored without penalties, they want their tax dollars to go back into the classroom and they want a different focus in education than the quest for higher test scores," Solano said.

At the end of the lengthy hearing, lawmakers voted to delay action on the bill. It’s already passed the Senate.