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Legislature approves bill to remove graduation testing requirements

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Less Testing
Removing high-stakes testing as a barrier to graduation has been a WEA goal for years.

Legislators have eliminated a significant barrier to high school graduation for thousands of students.

Beginning in 2020, Washington high school students will no longer be required to pass English/language arts, math and science tests to graduate. Instead, the new law provides other pathways to graduation.

Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill 1599 passed with a final vote April 22. Both the Senate and the House approved the bill with strong bipartisan support. It now goes to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature.

Rep. Monica Stonier of Vancouver is the bill’s prime sponsor. She’s an educator and member of the Evergreen Education Association and WEA.

“This bill creates opportunity for so many students who either struggle with taking tests or who, with their parents, have reasons for not wanting to take the test. We applaud this work to remove a serious barrier for our students,” said Becca Ritchie, a WEA member and Kent teacher who has fought against high-stakes testing for years.

Under HB 1599, students will have at least 10 pathways to earning a diploma (passing the existing state tests will be one of the options). Current state law requires most students to take and fail the standardized tests before being provided alternatives.

WEA successfully lobbied to include a review of the pathways to determine how they affect students and whether they are working as intended.

Read more about HB 1599 in this recent OurVoice blog post.

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