PLATFORM : Flunking CLAS

Public school classrooms in California, becoming more culturally and ethnically diverse every day, require vastly different instructional programs to meet the learning needs of all students. CLAS sought to establish a statewide curriculum, a poor substitution. And because the importance of the CLAS test superseded any other instructional concern, teachers tried to teach students how to score well on CLAS, a misdirected focus.

It was never necessary to test millions of students every year. If pollsters can predict the outcome of a presidential election within a few percentage points by quizzing 1,000 voters, it isn't necessary to test several million students to see how well they are doing in math.

Alas, while vetoing CLAS, Wilson also charged the Legislature with adopting a new state testing system by spring. Instead, he could breathe life into school curriculum and return a bit of local control by permitting schools to adopt instructional goals and measures of student achievement that they deem appropriate.

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