Bill Aims to Bring Local Control to Standardized Testing

A proposed bill would bring standardized testing back under control of the state and remove the private sector from the process.

SB 210, sponsored by Sen. Al Jackson, R-Highland, removes a provision allowing the State Board of Education to contract with anyone in the public or private sector to develop or administer U-PASS testing and specifically tasks the board with those duties.

Jackson says, for him, the issue comes down to privacy.

"What I'm concerned about is the data that's being gathered on our kids through this testing," he said. "I'm really big on local control and doing things at the state level."

Jackson says a number of parents are so concerned about data mining on students and having that information sold or shared with groups having nothing to do with education that they are opting their children out of standardized testing.

The legislation also, in no uncertain terms, says the state cannot contract with anyone in the private sector to "evaluate current tests and assessment programs; or develop, publish, or administer a test" for the state.

"We don't need a third-party organization helping us with that. We have enough resources in the state to do those things. We don't want these groups mining the data or sharing it at all."