Earlier in the school year, Georgia schools were denied a testing waiver by former Education Secretary Betsy Devos, to the dismay of parents and educators state-wide. The year has been full of challenges, and teachers, parents, and educators across the state agree about one thing, Georgia should say “NO” to High Stakes state testing this year!
How could anyone expect the results to be reliable?
Survival Was the School Theme
This school year has been full of disruptions. Students moved in and out of virtual learning, in-person learning, and medical quarantine status, disrupting quality learning experiences.
The theme for this school year was survival. We survived a summer of delivering food and care packages to students who rely on their school for food. We survived new procedures in school to keep students and staff safer. We survived the mass efforts to deliver quality instruction from our computer screens. We survived the storm of effort that was needed to remediate missing instruction from the abrupt closing of Georgia schools in March 2020.
When our students came back to school this fall, many of them were scared, sad, and apprehensive. From day one, the school was in a constant state of change. Teachers taught as students went in and out of medical quarantine. Some students moved in and out of virtual schooling as parents struggled to make decisions that fit their families.
Meanwhile, teachers were getting sick. Teachers covered classes to help their colleagues when the school could not find substitutes for quarantined and sick teachers.
Through it All, We Continued to Teach.
During a global pandemic, teachers continued to collaborate. Teachers continued to deliver quality lessons to our students. We attended meetings, we stood in carpool lines, we tutored students, we progress monitored the students who are falling behind, and we loved these children through a nightmare of a school year.
As the COVID restrictions continued to lower the limbo bar, we were asked to dig deeper and bend a little more. All year we delivered content and played limbo with COVID and school closings.
High-Stakes Test Waiver
Many of our students attend school virtually, but high-stakes testing must be administered in person. How can we give this test to students who do not attend in person?
How could anyone expect students to perform well on the high-stakes state tests? These students are being traumatized by fear, sickness, loss, and instability. Does anyone really believe the test scores will have value?
Georgia Resubmits the Waiver Request
Earlier this week, state superintendent Richard Woods resubmitted a request to waive high stakes state tests this school year, urging Secretary-Nominee Cardona and Acting Secretary Rosenfelt to do the right thing for Georgia students and cancel the Georgia Milestones for this school year.
Superintendent Woods stated that the state of Georgia prioritized the health, safety, and well-being of students, families, and school staff this school year. Woods acknowledged that Georgia students have suffered from academic setbacks. We knew this was going to be part of the equation for the 2020-2021 school year.
Let’s get real. In any given year, teachers are asked to sacrifice their personal time and mental health for their students. We give our hearts to our students. This year, some of our Georgia teachers gave their lives.
Our students are asked to show up and give us their attention. This is especially hard this year as our children are traumatized. Everyone is just trying to survive.
Our children have already been overburdened throughout this tumultuous school year. For the love of our Georiga teachers and students, Say no to High-Stakes State Mandated testing this year!