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More voices join anti-testing chorus

The Colorado Education Association Tuesday kicked off a campaign intended to build public support for reducing “educational mandates, testing time and bureaucratic red tape in Colorado’s public schools.”

The effort, titled “Free Our Teachers, Value Our Students,” is intended to “start a community conversation” about testing and other state education mandates, said CEA President Kerrie Dallman.

The teachers union appears to have no specific policy or legislative goals at this point, but its criticism of testing joins a rising chorus of complaints about testing from all quarters, including conservative school boards like that in Douglas County, suburban moms and many educators. (See this Chalkbeat Colorado story for details of the most recent legislative hearing on testing.)

“This is a campaign to say no to more mandates,” Dallman said to an audience of about 50 at the Denver Press Club. A long list of speakers, several of whom went on at length, included Eagle County Superintendent Jason Glass, Democratic Rep. Dave Young of Greeley, teachers, administrators, high school students from Wheat Ridge and even a representative of the Colorado Professional Firefighters.

The CEA Tuesday also released results of a voluntary survey it conducted of 1,200 Colorado teachers. Of those who responded, 90 percent said testing gets in the way of classroom instruction and that teachers are spending 30 percent of their time preparing students for and administering tests.

The CEA has launched a Facebook page to advance its effort. Check it out here.

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