Ed Next: If Feds Allow Opt Out, “One Cannot Assess School Performance”


On July 28, 2015, Education Next editor-in-chief Paul Peterson and executive editor Martin West published an article entitled, “Public Supports Testing, Opposes Opt Out, Opposes Federal Intervention.”

In their article, Peterson and West discuss the current Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) reauthorization that will be heading into House and Senate conference committee in September so that the versions of the ESEA reauthorization that passed the House (the Student Success Act–SSA) and the Senate (the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015–ECAA) might be negotiated to become a single bill.

In SSA, the House includes a blanket opt-out provision. In ECAA, there is also the possibility of opt-out, but states must decide individually on their opt-out policies.

Peterson and West want the resulting ESEA compromise bill to ditch the federal opt-out provision. Here is their reasoning:

One cannot assess school performance accurately unless nearly all (or a representative…

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