Yakima Herald-Republic: “State needs to keep tests of students’ basic skills”

Add the Yakima Herald-Republic to the list of editorial boards rallying to retain the required English and math graduation tests. The issue also topped our newsletter this week.

The Herald-Republic editorial is crisp. The writers agree with suspending the biology exam, but strongly oppose eliminating the requirement for math and English.

Statewide, hundreds of high school seniors have yet to pass the [biology] exam, thus imperiling their graduation. Legislative moves to rectify that — the state Senate has approved such a measure, the House has yet to act — are appropriate.

But the Democratic-controlled House seems to be holding out for having no test at all for graduation — even in basic skills such as English and math. This position comes despite an increase in the state graduation rates with the tests in effect, along with a decrease in students requiring remedial classes at the college level.

In sum,

But removing all the tests would eliminate a key measure of accountability and evaluation for the state’s school districts. The Legislature, as it slogs toward what we hope will be compliance with the state Supreme Court’s McCleary ruling and toward a budget agreement, needs to keep these objective measures of student performance in place — and do it now.