PSEA President Rich Askey: Statement on annual standardized testing

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PSEA President Rich Askey: Statement on annual standardized testing

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Chris Lilienthal (717) 255-7134
David Broderic (717) 255-7169

HARRISBURG, PA (Feb. 23, 2021) – PSEA President Rich Askey issued the following statement today in response to announcements from the U.S. Department of Education and Pennsylvania Department of Education related to the administration of standardized tests this year.

“We are disappointed that the U.S. Department of Education has decided against offering a waiver to standardized testing requirements this year,” Askey said. “As we wrote in a joint letter to our federal elected officials in January, we believe that if we truly want schools and educators to focus on learning recovery, we shouldn’t be administering standardized tests at all this year. Our students have already lost too much classroom instructional time.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Education responded today with a plan to extend Pennsylvania’s annual testing window through September 2021, giving school districts more time to address federal testing requirements.

“While we clearly prefer a federal waiver of annual assessments just as the U.S. Department of Education offered last year, PSEA welcomes the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s plan to provide school districts with needed time and flexibility to address the logistics of annual standardized testing during the pandemic,” Askey said.

“For the remainder of the 2020-21 school year, educators and students will be able to spend more time focused on teaching and learning, rather than losing vital classroom days to testing this spring. This important flexibility will ultimately require strategies at the local level to complete testing this summer or fall. It is our hope that this approach could offer safer conditions for the administration of assessments.”

Askey is a Harrisburg music teacher and the president of PSEA. An affiliate of the National Education Association, PSEA represents about 178,000 active and retired educators and school employees, student teachers, higher education staff, and health care workers in Pennsylvania.