May/June 2020 Issue
April 24, 2020

State cancels ELA math and Regents exams

Author: Sylvia Saunders
Source: NYSUT United
state ed building

Students, parents and educators have at least one less thing to worry about this year: State testing.

Thanks in part to union advocacy, the State Education Department halted administration of the state’s spring standardized tests, including all grades 3–8 ELA, math and science tests; the K–12 NYSESLAT for English language learners; and the NYSAA for students with severe disabilities. The move came minutes after the federal government announced it would waive standardized testing requirements for the school year.

NYSUT hailed the news and thanked the thousands of union activists who sent emails calling on U.S.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to lift the federal testing mandates.

“This is not the time to create more stress for our kids, which is why we called on the federal government to take exactly this action,” said NYSUT President Andy Pallotta. “This rightly allows the school community to put our focus where it should be: On staying safe and healthy.”

On April 6, the Board of Regents went a step further and canceled the end-of-year Regents exams, which have served as a gateway to graduation for nearly 150 years.

“These are extraordinary decisions for an unprecedented time,” said Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa.

Students in grades 7–12 who planned to take one or more Regents exams in June will be exempt as long as they pass the related course this school year. In addition, if a district can’t provide the full study unit — or required hands-on lab work, the student would get diploma credit as long as state standards have been met.

The Regents Board also passed a series of important emergency amendments to give schools more regulatory flexibility during the coronavirus closures, such as giving schools additional time to set up support services for students with disabilities and English language learners.

In addition, in response to union advocacy, SED is extending the deadline for the Statement of Continued Eligibility (SOCE) for special education teachers teaching content in self-contained classes from June 30, 2020, to June 30, 2021.

Teachers applying for the SOCE will have three years from the application to meet any of the workshop requirements.

In another major shift, the Regents have delayed implementation of the state’s new Next Generation Learning Standards until September 2021, with the new tests postponed until 2022.