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Oklahoma State PTA Poised To Take School Testing To Task

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

The biggest parents group in education wants to see changes in state testing, and it's planning to use its political influence to make it happen.

The Oklahoma PTA is meeting with a new agenda after a year with some wins and losses.

The organization supported common core -- which was repealed -- but supported rollbacks to high-stakes testing.

This year, the state created new exceptions to the third-grade reading test that determines if children advance to the next grade.

Read more about the PTA Resolutions

Broken Arrow parent Wendy Hardwick says parents are fed up with all the testing.

"I think we need to look at the whole process, what tests are required at the federal level, the state level and most importantly, what tests can we put back under the local schools,” Hardwick said.

The PTA is a school support group with political influence, and in the coming year, it wants to use its numbers to turn the tide on student testing and how testing is used to evaluate teachers and schools.

State president Jeffrey Corbett compared schools to prisons.

"Our children are shackled with more standardized, high-stakes tests than anywhere else in the world,” he said. “Our teachers are chained to unrealistic performance expectations that puts emphasis on test prep."

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin spoke to the group, which is hoping she will push lawmakers to limit testing.

“If you don't inspect your outcomes, you're not going to have any expectations, so let’s make sure we're setting the standard high, that we have transparency, and that we have the appropriate testing,” she said. “We have to have testing; we have to know how our children are performing."

For some parents, that was encouraging.

"Hearing her talk about, using those words, tells me that they are finally starting to get the message,” Hardwick said.

The PTA also is coming out against the practice of "field testing,” where students take long tests that are purely research so testing companies can come up with good questions.

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