Contact: Sandra Jackson, (916) 325-1550 or (916) 801-4776 (cell)
“The State Board of Education’s action to force all eighth-grade students to take a standardized Algebra test is another one-size-fits-all approach that punishes students and public schools, and a step backward for California’s standards and accountability system. It is another outlandish example of the No Child Left Behind Act and the federal government dictating to California how to teach our students, and of political leaders making irresponsible decisions that will hurt our kids.
“California has some of the highest academic standards in the country and our state has been working hard to ensure that our instructional materials, textbooks, assessments and teacher readiness are all aligned with those standards. Our students have been making tremendous progress. In fact, the number of eighth graders taking the Algebra 1 end-of-course test has increased by over 265 percent over the last eight years. But now, because of a federal mandate we are going to jeopardize that progress by demanding that all eighth graders be tested on material that they have not all been taught.
“CTA strongly supports academic standards and achievement for all students. We believe that both standards and assessments must be appropriate for students at each grade level and in each subject. We also believe that students must have appropriately trained teachers and the necessary textbooks and instructional materials to help them learn.
“Any teacher or parent will tell you that not all children learn in the same way or at the exact same pace. Forcing all students to take a test that completely disregards their readiness and ability or whether they have the necessary learning materials is setting them up for failure.
“Equally outlandish is the State Board’s failure to support any additional resources to meet this requirement. Forcing these huge educational changes on California schools when public education is facing $4.3 billion in state budget cuts is a recipe for failure that will undermine the progress that our students have been making. This decision is yet another example of policymakers not understanding how classrooms, student learning and schools work, and how a failed federal law is being allowed to dictate changes in California that hurt our students.”