Testing will be given only if it’s possible to do so “in a fair, equitable and safe manner for all students and teachers,” officials said in a Sept. 30 letter to schools obtained by The Post.
The Education Department may yet apply for a statewide waiver if those criteria cannot be met, according to the letter, signed by state Board of Regents Vice Chancellor T. Andrew Brown.
Still, news that the testing is even being considered is sure to come as a blow to school districts, parents and students, particularly in New York City, where 1.1 million kids are struggling through the start of in-person and remote instruction.
“The Board of Regents, and the State Education Department, will continue to monitor data about how schools and students are faring during this challenging time,” a state education spokesman told The Post.
“When it is time to decide about the assessment program, that decision will be fully informed by all available and relevant public health and educational data,” the spokesman said.
“As always we will put the health and safety of students and teachers first.”
The tests, given to students in grades 3 to 8, were canceled last year due to the pandemic.
But US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been pushing for standardized testing to resume.
In early September, DeVos told school leaders not to expect the tests to be canceled again this year.
“It is now our expectation that states will, in the interest of students, administer summative assessments during the 2020-2021 school year consistent with the requirements of the law and following the guidance of local health officials,” she wrote.
“If we fail to assess students, it will have a lasting effect for years to come,” she wrote.
“Not only will vulnerable students fall behind, but we will be abandoning the important, bipartisan reforms of the past two decades at a critical moment.”
In July, 14 NYC Council members — including Mark Treyger, the education committee chairman — sent a letter to then-state Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa urging that the tests be canceled again this school year.
“Amidst the extreme conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, conducting state tests cannot possibly be fair to students, would serve no meaningful purpose [and] would take time and money away from other more important priorities for learning and healing,” the letter said.
Even if the state goes forward with testing, parents have the ability to opt their children out of the exams.