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Hassan vetoes bill that would allow opt-out of standardized testing

Staff Report
June 12. 2015 8:29PM

CONCORD — Gov. Maggie Hassan has vetoed a bill that would enable students to opt out of statewide standardized tests, to the applause of business groups and the jeers of Common Core opponents.

“House Bill 603 would conflict with current state educational accountability laws, undercut one of the tools that educators use to evaluate K-12 student progress, and jeopardize federal funding for New Hampshire schools,” wrote Hassan in her veto message.

She said the tests provide the only statewide snapshot as to how public schools are performing.

“But it is also important to note that the state is not over-relying on these tests as they are not a significant factor in teacher evaluation; they are not used to determine school funding; and they are not required for a student to graduate,” she said.

The New Hampshire Business and Industry Association, a statewide chamber of commerce, has supported the Common Core standards and the related Smarter Balanced Assessment.

“Assessments are important. They provide parents and teachers with information needed to help students be successful,” said BIA President Jim Roche.

“Aside from the very real fiscal ramifications of losing significant education aid to New Hampshire, HB 603 sends a message that our state doesn’t value student achievement and educational excellence,” he said. “This is not a message that is conducive to economic growth and will likely discourage companies from considering New Hampshire as a state to grow an existing business or locate a new one.”

The conservative group, New Hampshire Cornerstone, has been a strong supporter of the legislation.

“The new Common Core assessment (Smarter Balanced Assessment) has been labeled as fatally flawed by math content experts,” said Cornerstone Education Liaison Ann Marie Banfield during the debate on the bill. “Licensed child psychologists have also warned that these assessments are developmentally inappropriate, especially for younger children.”

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