March 10, 2021

Democrats split over Biden plan for academic testing during pandemic

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Wonder of wonders, but some Democrats are finally siding with teachers. It could be because they’re being led by an actual educator– Rep. Jamaal Bowman. But even Politico is noticing, and devoted a whole story to the split this week.

A group of progressive Democrats is pushing the Biden administration to reverse its decision to require states to hold standardized testing in K-12 schools this year, reflecting a growing divide in the party over how to handle academic assessments during the pandemic.

While testing is supported by “a coalition of civil rights groups, business organizations, and the top Democrats overseeing education policy in Congress” (thanks a lot, Patty Murray), several Democrats are putting pressure on the administration to ease off.

The effort is being led by Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), vice chair of the House education committee and a former middle school principal. Before coming to Congress, Bowman was a vocal supporter of the testing opt-out movement in New York.

Bowman said that requiring testing this year would add stress to kids who are already traumatized and divert school administrators’ resources and attention away from reopening safely.

“We absolutely should not be doing this now in the middle of a pandemic,” he said in an interview, adding that it would be “too much of a heavy lift” for states.

“We already know where the gaps are because we’ve been testing for 20 years,” Bowman said, adding that the federal government should engage with teachers and principals to determine where resources need to be targeted as a result of the pandemic.

You can read the rest of the article here and see who is choosing up sides.

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