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
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
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.