The IFT has joined with the Illinois Education Association, the Illinois Association of School Administrators and the Illinois Principals Association to call upon Acting U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to waive standardized testing for this academic year as the pandemic rages on.
"As our students and communities continue to navigate through instability and uncertainty, we implore you to provide a federal ESSA (Every School Succeeds Act) waiver for standardized testing for the 2020-2021 school year," the joint letter says.
"Suspending standardized testing will allow us the opportunity to expend our time, energy and resources on efforts that will help our communities heal, recuperate and recover from this devastating pandemic."
Montgomery and the education leaders cite three key reasons why the waiver is critically needed:
Testing will further exacerbate the inequities that existed pre-COVID.
Given this last year of instability, standardized tests will yield inaccurate and unreliable data.
In-person testing will require time-consuming, complicated and potentially dangerous scheduling decisions for school leaders.
State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Carmen Ayala also requested a testing waiver this week. "Given where we are, we believe it’s more important to focus on supporting our students’ transition back to in-person learning than to focus on assessments," she said in her letter to Cardona.
Montgomery says that he is pleased that education organizations, management groups and ISBE are on the same page when it comes to the need for a waiver. "Our top priority now must be to support and educate students," he said. "I'm thankful that - on this issue at least - we all agree. It is just not the time to spend precious resources on unnecessary testing."
Watch ift-aft.org and your inbox for updates on this important issue.