KEA shares frustrations with U.S. Dept. of Education standardized testing decision

Published: Feb. 24, 2021 at 9:49 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - This school year, students have faced many challenges. A pandemic, learning from home and returning to class almost an entire year later. Now as classes resume some in-person normalcy, teachers have to prepare their students for standardized testing.

“We’ve had lots of disruption in the learning process,” Kentucky Education Association President Eddie Campbell said.

Campbell says the face-to-face instructional time left in this school year should be focused on meeting students’ needs not just academically, but socially and emotionally after a difficult year of learning.

“The academic needs are important, but unless a student feels safe and secure in their learning environment, they’re not going to be able to be successful,” Campbell said. “We also need to make sure we are providing them with counselors and mental health experts that are in the building, and that’s another part of the testing. It takes up a lot of time for our counselors who usually do all the work for these tests.”

Federal law requires states to test students each year in subjects like math and reading as a way to gauge a school’s progress, and identify any learning disparities among groups of students.

“Our educators are the experts for teaching and learning. They know what their students need and where their students are. They know how to assess their kids effectively and we feel like that’s where that needs to be placed, with the educators who know their students the best,” Campbell said.

The Biden administration is giving districts some leniency, saying waivers states can apply for would mean test results would not be used to measure progress or identify struggling schools. Still, local teacher groups and the American Federation of Teachers call the testing a frustrating turn.

In a letter to state education chiefs, the acting assistant education secretary Ian Rosenblum said the test results will help schools understand the impact from the pandemic and how to help students.

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