NYS Education Department Seeking Alternatives as US Department of Education Denies Testing Waivers

The United States Department of Education announced last night that it will not grant “blanket waivers” to cancel state exams.

The Acting Assistant Secretary of Education sent a letter to the heads of all state education departments informing them of the decision. The department instead offered flexibility in how the tests may be measured and offered adjustments to the states which include administering a shortened version of statewide assessments, offering remote administration of exams, and extending the testing period to include multiple testing periods or extend the window into the summer and possibly early fall.

The New York State Education Department responded to this decision in a statement released today. 

Spokesperson Emily DeSantis wrote “While we are disappointed by this decision, we are examining all possible options. Further, USDE made the right call in affirming that no child should be made to come to school to take a state assessment.” 

The state is seeking amendments to the requirements of Regents Exams for graduation. “Given these circumstances, the Department will propose a series of regulatory amendments at the March Board of Regents meeting so Regents Exams would not be required to meet graduation requirements and to cancel any Regents Exam that is not required by USDE to be held.”

This all means that New York State can move the test dates back and shorten the exams themselves, but they are required by federal law to administer the assessments.

You can read the full NYSED statement here.

You can read the full USDE letter here.

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