The Trump administration has ordered schools to resume standardized testing for the fall semester after the requirements to do so were waived in the spring because of the coronavirus pandemic.
With students in several states doing remote learning as the COVID-19 crisis continues, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos sent a letter to state education officials on Thursday that said testing should restart.
She said suspending the testing in the spring, when schools nationwide closed and remote learning was forced on students and their parents, "was the right call, given the limited information available about the virus at the time and the need to stop its spread, as well as the practical realities limiting the administration of assessments. However, it is now our expectation that states will, in the interest of students, administer summative assessments during the 2020-2021 school year, consistent with the requirements of the law and following the guidance of local health officials.
"As a result, you should not anticipate such waivers being granted again."
DeVos added that the federal government stands ready to help states that need technical assistance and advice on how best to administer exams, particularly if students are doing their school work at home.
Politico reported on the Education Department's directive.
Some governors had requested that the Trump administration wave the testing standards for the fall because of the pandemic. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ripped DeVos' directive, calling it "cruel."
"This virus has had an unprecedented impact on our kids, and forcing them to take these assessments during a time when families everywhere are working around the clock to stay safe is cruel," Whitmer said.
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., sided with DeVos and applauded her order.
"Especially when it comes to the disparities that harm so many students of color, students with disabilities and students whose families have low incomes, we've got to have data that shows us where we're falling short so we can better support those students," she said, Politico reported.
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