Superintendent Barresi Opposes Changes to Standardized Testing

Senate Bill 1654 aims to cut state-mandated testing beginning this fall, including social studies for 5th and 8th graders and geography for 7th graders.

State Superintendent Janet Baressi came out Tuesday against the proposed changes.

"Unfortunately, her perspective is, the state is the only one who has the most accurate measure to measure our students' knowledge, as far as history and geography are concerned. I just don't think that's the case," said Laura Edwards, parent of two elementary school children, adding that she disagrees with Baressi. "I think our geography teachers and our history teachers are more than capable of, and more than able of, testing our students at this time on whether or not they have a good grasp of geography."

Edwards says students are overwhelmed with standardized tests, to the point of teachers not being able to effectively teach the subject at hand.

Senator Tom Ivester (D) Oklahoma -- one of two lawmakers behind the bill -- agrees. "I hear frustration from students, I hear frustration from parents, and I hear frustration from teachers that we're getting away from the actual learning part and the teachers are simply having to teach to the test, so this bill is an attempt to help alleviate some of that," Ivester said.

In her press release Tuesday, Superintendent Barresi said the proposal would eliminate the state's ability to measure student knowledge.

But parents like Edwards say, the status quo just isn't working. "[My daughter] is not being taught what basic third graders should know. Everything, every perspective, whether it's from math, whether it's from a reading perspective - everything is based off of what would be tested, what would be the best way to teach this to pass the test and that's unfortunate."

The bill narrowly passed a house committee and now goes to the full house for a vote.