Advance Notice: Briefs

Dems urge DeVos to waive standardized testing next school year

By: - June 24, 2020 3:26 pm

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos speaks with state and local leaders from Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Thursday, October 3, 2019. | Official White House Photo by Stephanie Chasez via Flickr Public Domain

State Sen. Dayna Polehanki (D-Livonia) and State Rep. Lori Stone (D-Warren) introduced a concurrent resolution Wednesday to urge the U.S. Department of Education to waive the federally mandated standardized tests next school year.

In March, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos waived the federal mandate for the remaining assessments this spring, but testing for next fall is still uncertain. 

Susan J. Demas graphic

“Our schools are already facing unprecedented challenges in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Placing the burden of standardized testing on the shoulders of our students, who have missed so much time in the classroom is simply unfair,” Stone said. “Now more than ever, it is imperative to support our students and teachers to have as much instructional time as possible with as few disruptions as possible.”

On Tuesday, GOP legislators introduced their “Return to Learn” plan for schools next fall, which included requiring students to take benchmark assessments. 

Polehanki and Stone say that safety and health protocols, like social-distancing guidelines or distance-learning, would make administering a test costly and could quadruple the amount of time it takes to test students.

Additionally, internet quality and academic integrity issues make standardized testing from home currently untenable, Stone and Polehanki said in a press release.

Last week, GOP Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp requested a similar waiver.

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.