As Springfield, Illinois debates the merits and risks to students, schools and districts of proposed House Bill 306 opt-out bill, it’s important that the elected officials get their facts straight.

In a Chicago Sun-Times article, the bill sponsor, Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago, just gets it wrong. Guzzardi is quoted as saying:

“There is no federal law that says that our state has to test 95 percent of our students,” Guzzardi said. Not exactly.

As a condition of receiving millions of federal taxpayer funds each year, federal law requires “not less than 95 percent of each group of students…who are enrolled in the school are required to take the assessments.” The state is responsible for this requirement.

“There was, but Illinois has obtained a waiver on that law.” This isn’t quite right either.

True, Illinois has a waiver from No Child Left Behind, but in no way does this waiver exempt the state from the Title I requirement of 95 percent participation.

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