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Obama Administration Wants Cuts to Common Core Test Time

In this Jan. 16, 2013 file photo, concerned grandparent Sue Lile, of Carmel, Ind., shows her opposition to Common Core standards during a rally at the State House rotunda in Indianapolis. Some states are pushing back against the new set of uniform benchmarks for reading, writing and math that replace a hodgepodge of of goals that had varied wildly from state to state and are being widely implemented this school year in most states. (AP/The Star, Frank Espich)

The White House would like to see Congress take action to reduce the amount of time students are spending on standardized tests — a long-standing staple of the controversial Common Cord standards, which the Obama administration has generally supported.

The new Common Core tests — the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers — were administered to about 12 million students in 29 states last year.

Common Core Standards Pushback AP/The Star, Frank Espich

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said testing is something that the White House would like to see Congress act on as part of existing education legislation, but he said that was ultimately up to Congress.

“Education legislation would be an appropriate venue for steps to be taken to reduce the amount of time that is currently spent on testing inside the classroom, while still protecting the ability of administrators to evaluate student progress,” Earnest told reporters Monday. “I think the president has made a pretty forceful case about why that is the best approach. But again, this is something that Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill will have to consider.”

Earnest made the comments after President Barack Obama met in the Oval Office with teachers and various state and local education officials to talk about reducing the amount of time students spend on standardized tests. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Deputy Education Secretary John King also attended.

“The president led a discussion about how the federal government can be a good partner with states, districts and teachers in assessing students’ learning in a smarter way,” Earnest said.

A study by the Council of the Great City Schools found testing amounted to 2.3 percent of classroom time for the average eighth-grade student. The study did not include the time spent on test preparation.

“It has been a longstanding position of the administration that it is important to measure student progress,” Earnest said. “But the president has always made the case that standardized testing is not the only way to evaluate progress.”

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