Saturday, July 29, 2000

Lawmaker wants 12th-grade proficiency test out

State representative denies bid for Congress is motive for proposal

The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS — A state lawmaker wants to scrap Ohio's 12th-grade proficiency test, four years after he failed to win support for the same legislation and four months before an election in which he is running for Congress.

        Rep. Pat Tiberi denies timing of the bill has anything to do with his campaign. He says he finally has support from key officials for the bill. “I think I have some ownership to the issue, and it's not like I woke up and said, "Hey, this would be a good campaign issue,'” Mr. Tiberi said Friday.

        Mr. Tiberi is facing Democrat Maryellen O'Shaughnessy, a Columbus council member, for retiring Rep. John Kasich's 12th District seat. Her take on Mr. Tiberi's legislative timing: “It's really no concern of ours. That's his thing and it doesn't have to do with us.”

        Mr. Tiberi said he has talked to seniors about the test's necessity since 1995. Passage is not required for graduation. “They say they completely blew off the test because it doesn't count for anything,” he said. “It became very clear ... that the test was wasting the time of parents, teachers and students.”

        With the state's proficiency test system questioned by lawmakers, educators, parents and teachers statewide, timing is right for legislation, he said.

        State Superintendent Susan Tave Zelman has proposed eliminating the test and a $500 scholarship program for students who pass all five parts: reading, writing, math, science and citizenship. Ms. Zelman wants to shift money to a literacy campaign that the state Board of Education says is its top priority.


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