- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 15, 2014

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina Education Superintendent Mick Zais has withdrawn the state from testing for new standards next year.

Zais wrote the chairman of the South Carolina Board of Education on Monday saying Zais has learned he has the authority to withdraw South Carolina from a consortium that would test Common Core standards.

Zais says he decided to pull out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium so South Carolina can consider alternatives to the tests.

“I am not wed to any particular test,” wrote Zais. “I want to have a high quality assessment that meets the specific needs of South Carolina, at a competitive price.”

The Common Core standards and the tests to measure their effectiveness have been criticized as an attempt to nationalize education.

South Carolina Education Association President Jackie Hicks says it’s a mistake to abandon the process that had already been approved.

South Carolina students were scheduled to be tested by Smarter Balanced during the coming school year. Trial testing started last month. Common Core standards are being taught now and are scheduled to be fully enacted next year.

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