Tri-State Area Educators, Parents Say It's Unfair To Make Students Take Standardized Testing Amid Pandemic

The 2020-2021 school year and its challenges are unlike anything students have experienced before. Nevertheless, the federal education department released its guidelines mandating standardized testing; CBS2's Hazel Sanchez reports.

Video Transcript

- Well this latest school year, and its challenges, are unlike anything students experienced before.

- Nevertheless, the federal government is mandating standardized testing. CBS 2's Hazel Sanchez spoke with educators and parents who say it is simply not fair.

HAZEL SANCHEZ: 4th-grader Nathaniel Blanchard says he was hoping to get a break from state assessment tests this year.

NATHANIEL BLANCHARD: It's like reviewing like everything you did in the past six, five months. So it's just really stressful.

HAZEL SANCHEZ: But the US Department of Education is mandating schools administer standardized tests, not for the purpose of accountability, but rather to inform parents and educators about student performance. And to find inequities in schools, their needs, and how to meet those needs.

- I just think that the kids have been through so much already, so why add the stress of standardized tests?

HAZEL SANCHEZ: The USDE is suggesting States push testing to summer or fall, shorten the exam, or give it remotely. The New York State Teachers Union hoped the standardized exam would just be dropped.

JOLENE DIBRANGO: What we would have liked to have seen was a determination that would have allowed the teachers that know the children the best this year, to create locally-developed assessments to be able to measure the children.

DERMOTT MYRIE: Schools shouldn't have to be purchasing materials. We have teachers, we have districts, who can do this work.

HAZEL SANCHEZ: States can request a waiver for the 2020--2021 school year. Last week Governor Phil Murphy announced New Jersey will submit its request. The New York State Department of Education is considering its options, saying it's disappointed the USDE is not offering a blanket waiver for state assessments. Bergen County New Jersey teacher, and mom of three, Jennifer Grom says the tests are a waste of time.

JENNIFER GROM: Parents don't want this. Educators don't want this, and it's scientifically impossible that these tests are going to yield reliable, valid, usable data. Who is being served by this?

HAZEL SANCHEZ: An answer some teachers, parents, and students are still trying to figure out. Hazel Sanchez, CBS 2 News.

- And the New York State Education Department says it is proposing eliminating the Regents exam as a requirement for graduation. It is also looking to cancel the test altogether this year.