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Central Ohio school board discusses boycott of spring standardized tests

FILE - Westerville City Schools sign. (WSYX)
FILE - Westerville City Schools sign. (WSYX)
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At least one central Ohio school district is talking about boycotting state testing this year. Westerville City Schools told its parents the earliest target date to bring all kids back full time would be March 8 which is two weeks before weeks of standardized testing.

“To bring our Ohio kids into that high stakes testing environment in March of this year is unnecessarily, ineffective and in many ways cruel,” said Westerville City Schools board member Dr. Nancy Nester-Baker in the board of education meeting Monday. “It’s wrong in ways far greater than it has ever been wrong before.”

School leaders say they want to focus on the social-emotional needs of kids when they hit the classroom full time as it could take up to two years to catch kids up academically.

The state of Ohio requires 21 standardized tests. Of those, 17 are also federally mandated.

Representatives with the Ohio Department of Education told ABC 6/FOX 28 On Your Side that they have not requested a federal waiver for spring testing. On the state level, two republican lawmakers introduced a bill last week that would cancel the state’s requirement for this year.

ABC 6/FOX 28 On Your Side asked Gov. Mike DeWine if he would sign such a bill if passed within the next few weeks.

“There’s nothing wrong with having a test because we do want to know where students are,” Gov. DeWine said.

With testing to start in six weeks, Dr. Nester-Baker suggested Westerville City Schools should orchestrate a boycott.

“I would love to see our area districts ban together and say we will not be doing these tests and see where we can go with that,” she said.

The board of education will now discuss possible consequences at its next board meeting if they decide not to administer the state tests in March. While Gov, DeWine said he favors testing, he also indicated he’s also open to few penalties.

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“Having consequences with reports when it comes to the school, to me at least, that’s a different question,” he said.

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