American students are still navigating the most difficult year of learning in modern history. Between losing loved ones to COVID-19, being forced out of classrooms, adapting to distance learning, and missing out on a year of regular social interactions - they have had their worlds turned upside down.
The last thing they need is to take a stressful, ineffective standardized test.
We, the undersigned, are educators, parents, families, caregivers, students, and community members. We demand all departments of education think beyond the bubble and stop high-stakes testing this year.
There will be nothing standard about how testing will be administered this year. Any data collected that forces comparisons between and among schools, districts, educators, and students across states will be invalid and could lead to the gutting of funding and resources for those that need it most.
These tests are not capable of collecting the kind of information needed to target supports and resources. We need to rely on the expertise of educators who understand students' physical, social, mental, and emotional needs at this time, not two-dimensional data from a multiple choice test.
We must to ensure that our students who have been hardest hit during the pandemic—our Black, brown, rural, indigenous students, as well as those with special needs—receive the support they need. The educators and communities who know them best must have the flexibility to tailor assessments that can determine where students are and help design an educational experience that fully supports their academic, social and emotional needs.
Standardized high-stakes testing should not come at the expense of precious learning time that students could be spending with their educators.
We believe in an educational system that focuses on and measures what our students truly need—skills like creativity, leadership, critical thinking, and collaboration.
A better future for education is possible, and the first step is to start thinking beyond the bubble and stop high stakes testing this year.