On Friday U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said the federal government would waive standardized testing for the 2019-2020 school year because of the ongoing coronavirus emergency.
U.S. Rep. Mark Green, (R-TN-07), in a press release, said he appreciated DeVos and U.S. Republican President Donald Trump for this action.
“The gravity of the situation our schools continue to face while navigating the COVID-19 outbreak would have created an undue burden for preparing and administering statewide assessments,” Green said.
“By waiving these standardized tests, the health and safety of students, staff, and their families remain the top priority.”
DeVos said that, upon a proper request, her department will grant a waiver to any state that is unable to assess its students because of the emergency.
“Students need to be focused on staying healthy and continuing to learn. Teachers need to be able to focus on remote learning and other adaptations. Neither students nor teachers need to be focused on high-stakes tests during this difficult time. Students are simply too unlikely to be able to perform their best in this environment,” DeVos said on the U.S. Department of Education’s website.
“Our actions today provide turnkey flexibilities for state and local leaders to focus on the immediate needs of their students and educators without worrying about federal repercussions. I’ve spoken with many local education leaders in the past days, and I’m inspired by their efforts to help their students continue to learn and grow. We’re going to continue to provide every flexibility possible to help make that as simple as possible.”
As The Tennessee Star reported this week, Green asked DeVos on Monday, in a printed letter, to recognize the impact the coronavirus emergency has had on schools’ abilities to administer statewide assessments.
Green had asked that DeVos immediately grant any state’s request for a one-year waiver from Section 8401 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
Green said he discussed this waiver idea with JC Bowman, president of the Professional Educators of Tennessee.
As The Star reported Monday, Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Lee said Monday that he wants all school districts in the state to close as soon as possible and to remain closed until the end of this month.
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