Compromise on high school biology test passes first committee | The … – The Spokesman-Review

Posted: June 21, 2017 at 3:46 am

This post was added by Dr P. Richardson

UPDATED: Mon., June 19, 2017, 10:23 p.m.

OLYMPIA A compromise that could allow some 3,000 high school seniors to graduate even though they couldnt pass a controversial biology test moved through a key House committee Monday, creating a possibility it could become law in the coming weeks.

Several members of the House Education Committee grumbled that they preferred their original bill, which would also remove the requirements to pass math and English assessment tests for graduation, and criticized the Senate for refusing to vote on it even though the House passed it three times with overwhelming bipartisan support. The Senate has passed its bill, focusing on the biology assessment test, three times, also with overwhelming bipartisan support.

The compromise, which the House committee passed 15-0, delays any requirement to pass a science assessment until the senior class of 2021. By then the state expects to have a test that reflects the current science curriculum, not the old biology curriculum that has been replaced.

Requirements to pass math and English language arts tests are retained but students who fail the assessment tests in 10th grade could pass tests that are designed and administered locally, get academic support in 11th grade and go through an appeal process.

Critics of the assessment tests say they are not designed to determine whether a student is ready to graduate. Instead, they were designed to judge how schools are doing at teaching those subjects to meet certain federal requirements. Committee Chairwoman Sharon Tomiko Santos, D-Seattle, also said they have a higher rate of failure among minorities and students who struggle with English.

To take a high-stakes test that determines a kids future is appalling, said Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver. We are way, way over-thinking this.

Rep. Norm Johnson, R-Yakima, said education should be about fairness to the children, and the bill should pass even if representatives have to beg senators to agree to the compromise.

Rep. Mike Volz, R-Spokane, said he probably couldnt have passed the biology test when he was in high school and if it were a graduation requirement back then I dont know what I would be today. He agreed that the requirement was appalling and while the original House bill was better, this is the bill before us.

The compromise bill is unlikely to pass both chambers before Wednesday, the last day of the second special session. But it could come up in the third special session that will likely be called immediately as lawmakers try to complete work on the 2017-19 state operating budget.

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Compromise on high school biology test passes first committee | The ... - The Spokesman-Review

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