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Teachers Rally Against Standardized Testing At No Child Left Behind Hearing

On Jan. 21, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held a hearing to address a major question in American education: Are annual standardized tests necessary?

While almost every committee member in the overflowing hearing room said the burden of standardized testing must be reduced, Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Patty Murray (Wash.) argued they are still needed, noting that tests can hold states accountable when it comes to teaching the most disadvantaged kids.

The hearing was held as Congress debates rewriting the No Child Left Behind Act, the 2002 law signed by President George W. Bush that expanded the federal government’s footprint in public schools. NCLB required annual standardized testing in reading and math, as well as punitive action toward schools based on those raw test scores. The law expired in 2007, yet it remains in effect. The Obama administration has offered states waivers from the law’s toughest components since 2011 in exchange for agreeing to implement administration-favored education reforms, such as teacher evaluations that take test scores into account.