The following is an excerpt from an opinion piece in U.S. News & World Report by digiLEARN founder Gov. Bev Perdue. For the full article, click here.
Back in March, when Ohio became one of the first states to close schools and transition to online learning, many of us figured it would be temporary. It was hard to picture students learning math from their dining room tables and meeting with classmates for storytime via FaceTime. Parents, teachers and other observers never imagined that most schools would remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. And we certainly never dreamed that the U.S. Department of Education would allow a pause in high-stakes testing.
In March, the department granted waivers to all 50 states, reasoning that it would be unfair to hold schools accountable for the results of one test in a year with so much uncertainty and inequity. But as the new school year begins— again in an atmosphere of uncertainty and disruption — states like Texas are pledging to resume high-stakes testing. The decision drew the ire of the Texas PTA, whose leader penned an open letter to Gov. Greg Abbott declaring, "State assessments have no place in the 2020-21 school year."
Some schools are resisting pressure to reopen brick-and-mortar classrooms altogether. School districts in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Washington, D.C., among others have announced that they will resume instruction remotely for at least part of the year. As Suzi Kennon, president of the Texas PTA wrote in her letter, states "cannot expect our schools to go back to 'business as usual.' Now is the time for the state to put the needs of millions of students above data numbers and protocol."