Biden’s Department of Education finally will continue with the yearly federal testing with no exemption but will allow flexibility in supervising the annual standardized tests.However, leaders of the teachers’ unions expressed disappointment as they have been urging the Biden administration to relieve the schools of federal testing requirement.
According to Ian Rosenblum, the current acting Assistant Education Department Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, the standardized federal tests are mean to evaluate student learning as a way to determine the needed support for students. Its important to do especially during these times when the pandemic has completely changed the country’s education system.
Rosenblum gave assurance that there would be various ways states can conduct state tests, which can include rescheduling the tests in fall. That way, face-to-face classes this year can use the best practices approach for instructions and in balancing priorities.
While many in the education community received the administration’s announcement well as they agree with the department officials that the results of the tests will not be used as bases in judging state and local school districts for poor execution.
However, the national teachers’ union have voiced disagreements as they have done so in the past administrations.
What Teachers’ Unions See as Problematic with Federal Testing
The president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Randi Weingarten, believes that the Biden administration would miss a huge opportunity by continuing the policy. Becky Pringle, National Education Association (NEA) President, stated that there should be a negotiation between the department and the states to suspend the testing.
Pringle contends that standardized tests have never been a reliable way to measure the skills and knowledge of students and with the shift to online learning, it will be much more unreliable now.
Both Weingarten and Pringle had put forward a recommendation for the Education Department to let local school districts conduct the student assessments, combined with unique challenges that in some ways cannot be carried out through standardized assessments.
However, Assistant Education Secretary Rosenblum refused their suggestion through a letter, in which he stated that the Education Department will not consider blanket waivers of federal tests for student assessments.