GRESHAM, Ore. (KOIN) — With the stroke of a pen, President Obama gave states considerably more power over how they administer standardized tests. It’s a step some parents and teachers have worked toward for years.
“When it got signed, we were just like, oh, my gosh, this is amazing. It is an amazing moment,” said Reed Scott-Schwalbach. “The reason it is so important is we have been living under a law that penalized schools even when students are growing.”
Scott-Schwalbach, a Spanish teacher at Gresham’s Centennial High School, is also on the National Education Association’s board of directors.
“We had to teach toward a test that wasn’t always the best way for our students to learn,” she said.
The changes mean states and districts are now responsible for coming up with their own goals for achievement.
In Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown said, “The Every Student Succeeds Act opens the door for Oregon’s schools and communities to prepare our students to be ready for college or career.”
Brown said she was committed to making sure every student graduates with a plan for the future, but stopped short of providing details.
Oregon State Superintendent Salam Noor said he is pleased with the federal decision.
“I look forward to working with educators, parents, and community leaders from around the state in the coming months to design an ESSA State Plan that reflects our commitment to high standards, prepares all students for success after high school, and strengthens our focus on educational equity,” Noor said in a statement.
Scott-Schwalbach points to the 2015 assessment plan and said the state already has a blueprint.
“I think Oregon is set up to be one of the best states as far as how we are moving forward and what we can do moving forward,” she said.
The state will reach out to form a plan next Spring.