State Senators asking Biden Administration to waive standardized testing in Pa.

This Week in Pennsylvania

SILVER SPRING TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) — The chairs of the State Senate Education Committee say students need a sense of stability, and that doesn’t mean more assessments.

State senators Scott Martin, a Republican, and Lindsey Williams, a Democrat, both sent a letter to the Biden administration this week asking them to waive requirements for standardized testing. They both say this would cause undue stress on students, teachers and families.

“I think it’s what’s in our kids’ best interests, our families best interest, the teachers and these school districts,” Martin said. “They have enough to do to try to catch up with our kids and be on top of it, let alone the stress of these tests.”

Cumberland Valley superintendent Dr. David Christopher understands people want to know what kind of learning loss has happened.

“But my concern is when we have a really limited number of days left in this school year, that some of those are going to be taken up with giving mandatory tests,” Christopher said.

Last month, several Pennsylvania education associations sent a letter to the Biden administration asking to let Pennsylvania schools skip the tests.

“And we also had commitments from the state Department of Education that if they had the opportunity to apply for the waiver from the federal government, that they were going to do it,” Martin said.

But Monday, the federal Department of Education said it will not allow states to forgo federally required standardized testing but will give them the flexibility to delay it or hold it online during the pandemic.

“The district has 2,800 students who have opted to be virtual this year, so trying to coordinate testing with those students who are out virtually is going to be really challenging for us,” Christopher said.

Now schools are looking at several weeks of mandatory testing.

“It’s just unfortunate that this is what they’re going to try and do,” Christopher said.

Christopher says if a waiver is not granted, he plans on still having standardized testing in Cumberland Valley this school year, not pushing it back, because that would create more problems.

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