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Maryland General Assembly passes bill limiting hours of testing in schools

With unanimous votes in both the House of Delegates and the state Senate, the General Assembly passed a bill that would limit how many hours of standardized testing school students can be made to undergo each year

The bill would cap testing at 2.2 percent of overall classroom time in a year — about 24 hours in elementary and middle school and 26 hours in high school.

The state teachers union argues that students are required to take too many tests, costing them hundreds of hours of time that could otherwise be spent learning over the course of their school careers. The Maryland State Education Association supported the bill.

"Educators applaud legislative leaders in both parties for coming together to establish a common sense safeguard against over-testing in our schools," Betty Weller, the association's president, said in a statement. "This means our kids will have more time to learn important well-rounded skills, and our teachers can get back to why they went into the profession in the first place: inspiring their students to love learning."

Teachers have also resisted testing because their students' scores have been used to evaluate them, which some teachers argue is unfair

There were several battles over changes to education during this year's legislative session. Republicans have generally come to favor giving private organizations a bigger role in public education, while Democrats typically are more committed to having schools run by local governments.

The Democrat-controlled General Assembly passed a bill that would have limited the state government's ability to intervene in the management of struggling schools. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed the measure, but the legislature overrode the veto, forcing the bill into law.

Hogan also proposed a measure to create a statewide charter school authority, a move that supporters of charters say would lead to more being established in the state. The bill did not advance in the General Assembly.

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