COVID-19 Update: State Legislature Action Still Needed to Waive State Standardized Testing and School Time Mandates

Dear BCPS Families,

The Michigan State Legislature must take action now to ensure that schools can continue to receive funding and allow students to be excused from state testing mandates due to COVID-19 state-mandated closures.

The U.S. Department of Education has already excused state testing requirements, and it is time for the state legislature to do the same. The Michigan Department of Education and the State Superintendent of Instruction Michael Rice have called for the legislature to waive or repeal instructional time and testing mandates that could impede school funding, extend the school year into summer, or require testing that students are not ready for.

The U.S. Department of Education announced last week that it will allow state departments of education to request a waiver of federal requirements for state standardized testing this school year. The Michigan Department of education has requested a federal waiver. But because many state education requirements are written into Michigan state law, the state legislature must act to repeal or suspend legal requirements for schools to administer testing in order to ensure that school funding can continue uninterrupted and that Michigan students do not need to take the M-STEP this year.

In an interview with WBCK last Thursday, Superintendent Carter stated, “We have put in place a four-week stop without any opportunity to truly plan for that four weeks of disruption. So we are going to have to think differently about the way we help students catch up when school resumes to make sure that no student is left behind. They need to be able to come back to school and focus on learning, and we need to have the opportunity to provide them with care and concern, not state assessments.”

The state legislature also must act to suspend M-STEP testing so that Michigan students and families can be excused from the potential retention of students who do not meet minimum reading test scores in third grade. The law, Read By Grade Three (commonly known as the Third Grade Reading Law) requires the use of M-STEP scores to establish retention requirements. BCPS leaders believe that students should be excused from the requirements of that law for this school year, as well as from all state testing.

BCPS urges the Michigan State Legislature to take immediate action to excuse the state’s schools and students from the restrictive laws that require state test scores. It would be an undue burden on students to come back from this stressful disruption to their education and then have to go straight into standardized testing.

BCPS families should consider contacting their state representatives to request that they take action to repeal or suspend state testing requirements. Find your state representatives using these search tools.

We look forward to continuing to support student learning through at-home and online opportunities while schools are closed. When school is back in session, we want to focus on helping students catch up and continue to excel, not on state requirements and standardized testing.

Read more here: State school chief urges lawmakers to waive time, test mandates (Detroit News).

Thank you,
The BCPS Leadership Team

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