Assemblyman Angelo Morinello is in opposition to the U.S. Department of Education’s recent decision to require states to administer standardized tests this school year.
The federal government contends these exams are to gauge the impact of COVID-19 on student learning. Last school year, regular standardized testing was canceled as the pandemic closed schools nationwide. The New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) has vocally opposed the federal government’s decision to hold these exams.
“Our students and teachers have faced continuous obstacles and challenges during the past year in order to facilitate a safe and productive learning environment – whether at home or in person at school,” Morinello said. “The deterioration of the traditional norms of our education system as a result of COVID has exacerbated during the pandemic. Standardized testing has and continues to fail to address the inconsistencies and differences amongst students as individuals, and school districts as a whole. It has only become magnified during this pandemic.
“Some students are still plagued by inconsistent broadband access, or less than ideal circumstances at home; that will inevitably adversely affect their learning. How could we expect to judge their academic progress and performance without recognizing and addressing these fundamental differences? Our students are experiencing psychological and emotional difficulties. They should not have additional burden placed upon them during this extraordinary time. What we should be doing is placing trust in our teachers to responsibly evaluate students – without standardized testing – and communicate directly with parents on any shortcomings that need to be addressed.”
“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.”
Earlier this month, New York state officials joined several states – including California, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan and New Jersey – in requesting a waiver from this year’s testing requirements completely. Many students are still learning from home full-time, and struggling to learn efficiently based on the challenges that arise from that.
Next month, state officials plan to vote on a proposal to remove the Regents exams from graduation requirements. The proposal echoes the plan from last year, removing Regents requirements and permitting students to pass only the related course instead.