Educators at odds with U.S. Department of Education after announcement of no testing waivers this year

Educators at odds with U.S. Department of Education after announcement of no testing waivers this year

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Georgia educators are sounding off after the U.S. Department of Education Secretary told them not to plan on receiving federal testing waivers for the new school year.

The Georgia State Superintendent called the decision “disappointing” and “detriment to public education.”

Here at home, Savannah-Chatham school leaders say the decision is unfortunate, but they’ll continue to focus on the well-being of students.

“Virtual learning is new to all of us and to assess that by requiring them to take time off to take a high stakes test is troublesome,” said Marcus Scott, Principal of Myers Middle School.

He says the Department of Education’s plans not to grant testing waivers to schools, is unfortunate.

“We really have nothing to compare it to this year, so I really think it’s more of a partisan issue than actually doing what’s best for the kids,” said Scott.

Thursday morning, chief state school officers received a letter from Education Secretary Betsy Devos.

You can read the full letter below:

It discussed federal testing waivers given out the previous school year due to limited information on COVID-19.

It also said, “You you should not anticipate such waivers being granted again.”

The Savannah-Chatham County Schools Executive Director of Accountability and Assessment told WTOC:

“It is unfortunate that the United States Department of Education has not granted the Georgia Department of Education’s request to waive federal testing requirements. Over the past six months districts have had to reinvent the delivery of teaching and learning to adapt to the challenges imposed by COVID-19. Meeting these challenges has been the focus of our work and has taxed our time and resources.
Joseph Austin, Executive Director-Accountability and Assessment

Principal Scott says he hopes the secretary changes her mind. He also says a lot of teacher evaluations are based on these tests.

They’re also used to see how much students are growing academically.

“Even if there was testing data this year, you’re comparing two different things when you’re comparing a virtual setting versus a face-to-face setting,” said Scott.

Both the school district and Principal Scott say even with this new challenge, they’re going to continue to do what’s best for students.

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