December 13, 2016
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson, State Board of Education President Michael Kirst Respond to Federal Denial of California’s Science Testing Waiver Request
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and State Board of Education President Michael Kirst today released a joint statement in response to the U.S. Department of Education’s denial of a waiver allowing California to suspend an outdated science assessment and instead give a modernized science test:
“We are deeply disappointed by the U.S. Department of Education’s denial of our waiver request. We reject their insistence that we double-test. We believe the denial of this request harms our students, who will be forced to study science based on state standards adopted in 1998 that are outmoded and not designed for the 21st century.
“California plans to move full-speed ahead implementing our new, computer-adaptive science assessment pilot in 2017 based on our new Next Generation Science Standards.
“The standards, our new online test, and our new science curriculum framework, which guides teachers, are all part of an exciting renaissance in science education in California designed to equip our students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the 21st century economy and college.
“Upgrading our science education is especially important in a state that is a global leader in high technology, with companies eager to hire educated and qualified workers.
“Virtually all the major education groups in California, including the California Science Teachers Association and the PTA, support our waiver request.“California educators know better than people in Washington, D.C., how best to serve our students. We have no time to waste when it comes to improving science education. California moves forward, not backward.”
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Tom Torlakson —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100