Georgia seeks waiver on standardized testing for upcoming school year

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and the Georgia Department of Education released a joint statement Thursday announcing an effort to do away with standardized testing again for the upcoming 2020-21 school year. Georgia will petition the U.S. Department of Education to grant this waiver.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, we have urged common sense regarding compliance in Georgia’s public schools, and a focus before anything else on the health, safety, and well-being of students, families, and school staff,” Kemp said, noting that on March 16, in the wake of the shutdown of in-school classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Georgia became one of the first states in the nation to suspend standardized testing for the 2019-2020 school year. This was later granted by the U.S.DOE. “Given the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic and the resulting state budget reductions, it would be counterproductive to continue with high-stakes testing for the 2020-2021 school year. In anticipation of a return to in-person instruction this fall, we believe schools’ focus should be on remediation, growth, and the safety of students. Every dollar spent on high-stakes testing would be a dollar taken away from the classroom.”

Kemp said Georgia will submit the waiver request to the U.S.DOE for the suspension of the 2020-21 Georgia Milestones assessment and CCRPI school and district rating.

“To our knowledge, Georgia is the first state in the nation to make this announcement for the upcoming school year. Additionally, effective immediately, the Georgia Department of Education is suspending the teacher evaluation (TKES) summative rating for 2020-21,” Kemp said.

Kemp also announced the Georgia Professional Standards Commission voted last week to remove the edTPA assessment as a requirement for the certification of educators in Georgia, making it easier and less costly for teachers to get certified in the state. The GaPSC also recently removed the second of two required ethics assessments, cutting the cost of certification for Georgia teachers by nearly half. Kemp said loosening the restrictions makes it easier and more accessible for all who want to pursue the mission of teaching.

“I am grateful to the Georgia Professional Standards Commission for their work on this issue,” he said.

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