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Sonoma County educators cheer governor's call to rein in testing

Sonoma County educators on Wednesday greeted Gov. Jerry Brown's call for less student testing and quicker results on the remaining tests as a bit of good news for schools that are awash in financial worry.

In his annual state of the state speech from Sacramento Wednesday, Brown said students are asked to take too many tests and teachers learn little from them because results are not readily available.

"I believe it is time to reduce the number of tests and get the results to teachers, principals and superintendents in weeks, not months," he said. "With timely data, principals and superintendents can better mentor and guide teachers as well as make sound evaluations of their performance."

That's good news, local educators agreed.

"I think you are going to hear applause from every corner on that one," said Karen Salvaggio, interim superintendent of Wright School District.

The current drumbeat of testing wears on teachers and students, she said.

"It almost crescendoes over the top of instruction. You are so worried about what assessment comes next," she said. "It's not that we don't want testing, we need to know how we are doing."

Salvaggio said reducing test and test preparation time does not mean schools and teachers will lose sight of tracking student learning.

"We have to demonstrate that we are closing the achievement gap, that we are reaching all students," Salvaggio said. "You still have to address those kids because your accountability system is doing to demand that of you."

Andy Brennan, a high school teacher and president of the Santa Rosa Teachers Association, cheered Brown's proposal to get state test results to schools in time to make them matter to the students themselves.

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