The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 2846, and if the bill were
presented to the President in its current form, he would veto it.
H.R. 2846 would override current law and enact a permanent ban on the use
of Department of Education funds for any work on the voluntary national
tests in 4th grade reading and 8th grade mathematics beyond the preliminary
work described in the Department's FY 1998 appropriations act. The ban
would also prohibit additional work on the tests by the independent,
bipartisan National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) and would remain in
place until explicit authorizing legislation is enacted.
National tests are critical because they will provide students, parents,
and teachers the opportunity to measure how well students are performing in
comparison to national standards and international benchmarks. As a
result, national tests will help hold schools accountable to parents and
communities for the performance of all students.
H.R. 2846 is clearly inconsistent with the bipartisan agreement enacted
last fall, which makes NABG responsible for the development and
administration of the test, and which calls for the National Academy of
Sciences (NAS) to conduct a series of studies that would help inform future
deliberations by the Congress and the Administration relating to this
important issue. By passing H.R. 2846, the House will undermine NAGB's
role and will prejudge the findings of the NAS studies, which have not been
completed, and jeopardize the progress being made in developing the