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Education Secretary-designate Miguel Cardona will soon face a tough decision: Does he let states like New York get away with using the pandemic as an excuse for canceling federally required standardized testing for a second year in a row?
Trump-era Secretary Betsy DeVos reluctantly issued waivers for the exams last spring, as many school systems were overwhelmed by lockdown challenges. But she also warned that tests should resume in 2021 — after all, everyone had a year to plan for the likely challenges, and these assessments are vital in figuring out which kids have fallen behind.
But New York Education Commissioner Betty Rosa evidently doesn’t want anyone knowing how badly the state’s children are doing. She has applied for a waiver so she can cancel the Spring 2021 Regents exams — which will have the added benefit of goosing high-school graduation rates.
As Connecticut’s education chief, Cardona supported state testing despite the challenges of virtual and hybrid learning, one of the many stances that shows he’s unwilling to give teachers’ unions (which hate standardized exams) whatever they want.
But the Biden White House has been less resolute, even defending the Chicago Teachers Union after its members voted to simply not show up for a return to in-person classes.
Let’s hope the president gives Cardona the OK to do the right thing and deny waiver requests like Rosa’s.
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