The Hutchinson administration won’t quit standardized tests for public schools(and the misleading single-letter grades they are used to produce), not even in a growing pandemic.
There’s a whole general argument about the questionable value of tests that mostly reflect family circumstances as opposed to student achievement and school quality. But the Billionaire Boys Club that controls politicians in Arkansas won that battle long ago.
But a pandemic, when some students are at home, some at school and some lost in action entirely, hardly seems a time to impose the testing standard that is a product of the No Child Left Behind federal initiative.
Don’t tell that to the believers.
A mother in the Little Rock School District wrote with her concerns about this to the governor’s office. Here’s the response she got:
Got it? Hutchinson administration will force parents keeping children home to bring them to school Petri dishes to take tests at a time when the pandemic seems to be reaching new surges on top of surges. The state, incidentally, is complicit in the failure so far to get vaccines rolling at a sufficient rate.
Texas — Texas! — at least came up with a half-measure. Schools there wanted another waiver this year. The Republicans in charge said no. But apparently they have agreed not to use the test scores to rate districts.
Education Week reports that several states, including Georgia, Virginia, California and South Carolina have taken steps to downplay the importance of tests in various ways this year. Arkansas, as always, will be on the trailing edge of any developing trend.
There’s still hope President Biden may issue another federal waiver this year.