Rep. Walker’s education bill passes by wide margin

Published 4:22 pm Thursday, June 5, 2008

South Carolina&squo;s current accountability testing, known as PACT, will be replaced with a new diagnostic test next year.

The legislation is on its way to the governor&squo;s desk. A conference committee of House and Senate members worked out the details of H.4662 and the legislation was unanimously approved by the House and Senate.

The bill was written and sponsored by Rep. Bob Walker (R-Landrum), chairman of the House Education and Public Works Committee, along with 74 co-sponsors.

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The legislation makes the first significant revision to the groundbreaking S.C. Education Accountability Act of 1998. The changes are in response to recommendations from a legislative study group appointed by Rep. Walker and statewide education task forces that met last summer.

&dquo;Parents and educators spoke, and we listened,&dquo; Walker said after the House unanimously approved the bill. &dquo;Teachers and parents will be better able to determine the academic strengths and weaknesses of our state&squo;s children, and to tailor an instructional program to those needs.&dquo;

Among the key recommendations included in the bill were replacing PACT with more diagnostic and timely accountability testing beginning in 2009. The bill supports formative assessments that provide teachers with timely data on student progress, aligns the state&squo;s student performance levels with other states and with the federal No Child Left Behind law, and makes the annual school report cards more reader friendly.