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Teachers’ Union asks New York to waive standardized testing

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(WBNG) -- The New York State United Teachers Union (NYSUT) is asking the State Department of Education to request a federal waiver regarding a testing requirement for grades three to eight and high school.

The NYSUT says it is asking for the waiver because of complications teachers and students are facing due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Regents Chancellor Lester Young Jr., the Board of Regents, and the union wrote a letter to Interim State Education Commissioner Betty Rosa saying the pandemic has made caused inconsistencies in education. The letter claims as schools constantly moved back and forth between in-person, online, and hybrid learning models.

The letter also cites teachers who address the emotional stress of the pandemic and the racial tensions due to the death of George Floyd, as other factors impeding the educational process.

They argue that without a standardized instructional mode, there should be no standardized testing at the end of the school year.

The union has also asked the state to delay the implementation of the Next Generation Learning Standards until the 2023-24 school year and new tests based on those standards until spring 2024.

They say it would "give districts and educators additional time to properly prepare and for students to demonstrate their mastery of the standards."

In a news release, NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said getting rid of the standardized testing for this year would be the right call.

“While we believe in measuring student success, students should again be afforded opportunities to showcase their hard work without being subjected to the stress of either the 3-8 or Regents exams in the midst of crises on multiple fronts," he said. “Educators know their students’ needs and how to maximize their potential."

NYSUT Executive Vice President Jolene T. DiBrango likened the testing to a punishment.

"It’s likely that many students will need more time to master new learning standards because of the disruption of the pandemic," she said.

DiBrango also noted that the well-being of students must "come first."

The letter NYSUT sent to the State Department of Education is posted below:

LetterCommissionerTestingWaiver

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Matthew Benninger

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