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a state actually cutting its testing budget!!!

found this as a result of an e-mail of news itesm from ascd

Ken Bernstein

in news

Missouri student testing program could be cut
Of the Post-Dispatch
03/18/2002 11:11 PM

Missouri's student testing program, a centerpiece of the state's
efforts to
improve public education, would be gutted next year to help balance
the state
budget, under a proposal by a key legislative committee.

The House Budget Committee voted Monday to spend just $5 million
instead of
$13 million on the Missouri Assessment Program, the state's battery of

That would pay for tests in two subjects instead of the five subjects
tested in various grades
each year, state education officials say.

Testing makes up a tiny part of the Department of Elementary and
Education's budget proposal of $4.7 billion. But the cut would have
huge negative
effects, some state and local educators say.

"It really creates a problem," said D. Kent King, Missouri's education

commissioner. "The whole purpose of testing is to help keep the focus
on school
improvement issues we've got going on in this state."

Missouri, like every state but Iowa, sets academic standards for what
should know. It requires the MAP tests each spring to see whether
children have
met those standards. The scores largely determine a district's state
accreditation status.

Schools and districts with consistently low test scores face
penalties, up to
and including state

The state has phased in the MAP tests over the past six years.

Students are now tested in five subjects: communication arts, math,
social studies and
health-physical education.

A new test in fine arts was to be required this school year, but the
postponed it to save

Like many other states, Missouri faces a budget crisis because of
state revenue and rising costs.

Gov. Bob Holden wants to give school districts the full amount
promised under
the state's basic aid formula. For the 2003 fiscal year, that would
total $2.4

But to guarantee those dollars, it means the Legislature must look
elsewhere to
save money.
MAP testing isn't the only education program up for cuts or

Money for special education, gifted education, school technology,
education and other programs have been targeted. All together, the
cuts come to $42 million.

Any recommendations by the House Budget Committee must still win
from the full House and Senate.

However, because the committee's suggestions carry so much weight,
say, it could be
difficult to get proposed cuts restored.

Reporter Holly Hacker:
E-mail: hhacker@post-dispatch.com
Phone: 314-209-0982

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