On Monday, February 22, President Joe Biden’s Department of Education announced guidelines for administering state assessments for this year, doubling down on standardized testing and upsetting educators.

In guidance released last week, the department stressed the importance of giving assessments this year for parents and educators “to target resources and support rather than accountability.”

The guidelines also said “state assessments and accountability systems play an important role in advancing educational equity, identifying student needs and targeting the resources to address them.”

The federal government is showing flexibility with extending the testing window, allowing for moving assessments into the summer, remote assessments, and shortening the state assessment “to make testing more feasible to implement and prioritize in-person learning time.”

Gerry Brooks, a Kentucky principal and author, said in a Facebook post he was “floored with the decision to push ahead with state testing. Millions and millions of dollars wasted. Thousands of hours of wasted instructional time. And to offer to allow it to be done online or ‘over the summer’ is beyond ridiculous.” He goes on to say in the post that he is “so disappointed in the Biden administration and Dr. Cardona. Completely out of touch with the stress [of] teachers, parents and students. So much for having ‘a teacher in the White House.’”

The Department of Education stated their guidelines “reflect a practical approach for addressing the immediate crisis at hand. The Department will continue to engage a broad range of stakeholders regarding how the Biden-Harris Administration can best implement its agenda to prepare all students to succeed in tomorrow’s economy, regardless of race, parents’ income, zip code, or disability; and to provide educators with the support, respect and dignity they deserve.”

When asked about the plan, a Dallas-area teacher said, “The success of students wouldn’t be based on money, race, location, or anything else if we stopped caring about how well we test and retrain teachers to teach their subject, not a test.”

This won’t help education, it will keep us from producing well-educated adults, resulting in more people who are sheep to the media. 

Students in Texas will take the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) beginning April 6, 2021, with Writing and the End of Course (EOC) exam for English I. On April 7, students will take English II. The remaining exams will start on May 4 and end on May 14.

Texas Education Agency is still reporting that all students will be responsible to take the exam, despite Commissioner Mike Morath stating that virtual students would not need to take the exam.

Parents or concerned citizens may contact TEA at (512) 463-9536 if they have concerns over the STAAR test being required this year.

Tera Collum

Tera Collum has 13 years experience as a government and economics teacher in Texas public schools. She recently was the director of The Travis Institute of Educational Policy and Teachers for Texas.


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