Lawmakers are realizing what parents, students and educators learned a long time ago — standardized tests are failing as the best option for gauging educational preparedness.

It’s time Washington and Austin got out of the classroom, and allowed local communities to set testing standards. Regulatory burdens placed on school districts need reduction.

Rep. Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs, is pushing for reforms seeking alternatives to the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, such as using other evaluators, which meet national norms. He also wants to decrease the frequency of examinations.

Local school boards should be the ones deciding on benchmarks — and how many — during the academic year for measuring how students are faring.

Federal and state mandates ranging from the No Child Left Behind Act to Common Core State Standards Initiative have missed the mark. Not only did STAAR testing encounter glitches in its last cycle, but also hours spent girding for the exams could be better utilized.

Wouldn’t it be better to channel the millions of dollars spent on standardized testing to more worthy enterprises benefiting a school district and its patrons?

No one denies schoolchildren’s progress requires assessing, but don’t let the tail wag the dog. The pursuit of knowledge should be the goal of the education system, not teaching to the test.

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