NY teacher's union pushes back on federal mandate for standardized tests this year | WHEC.com

NY teacher's union pushes back on federal mandate for standardized tests this year

Updated: February 23, 2021 01:14 PM
Created: February 23, 2021 11:00 AM

ALBANY, N.Y. (WHEC) — The New York State United Teachers Tuesday announced it "strongly rebuked" the federal government’s decision to mandate that states administer standardized tests for the current school year.

The United States Department of Education announced Monday it will not allow states to skip federally required testing in schools, but it is allowing some flexibility.

In a letter, acting Assistant Education Secretary Ian Rosenblum wrote that states will be allowed to move tests to the summer or fall, or they can offer shortened tests or online assessments, they can also apply to be exempted from certain accountability measures. 

However, NYSUT leaders fired back at the decision.

“In a year that has been anything but standard, mandating that students take standardized tests just doesn’t make sense,” NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said. “As the educators in the classroom, we have always known that standardized tests are not the best way to measure a child’s development, and they are especially unreliable right now. We need to ensure that our students who have been hit hardest during the pandemic receive the support they need. Sizing up students with inequitable and stressful exams is not the solution.”

NYSUT  said it previously encouraged the state to request a federal waiver of grades 3–8 and high school testing requirements, but, Rosenblum said the department is not accepting "blanket waivers."

Additionally, a spokesperson from the New York State Education Department said.

“USDE informed states last night that it will not grant a blanket waiver for state assessments. While we are disappointed by this decision, we are examining all possible options. Further, USDE made the right call in affirming that no child should be made to come to school to take a state assessment. In addition, USDE agreed to uncouple state assessments from accountability measures so no school will be affected by the results of state assessments and the results will solely be used as a measure of student learning. Given these circumstances, the Department will propose a series of regulatory amendments at the March Board of Regents meeting so Regents Exams would not be required to meet graduation requirements and to cancel any Regents Exam that is not required by USDE to be held. We continue to have discussions with USDE regarding this matter to find a path forward that is best for the health and safety of all New York’s children.”


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