Education Commissioner Cardona Announces CSDE Seeking Federal Waiver to Suspend Assessments for the Current School Year
(Hartford) – Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona joined Governor Ned Lamont yesterday to announce the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) will be pursuing a federal waiver from the U.S. Department of Education (U.S. DOE) to suspend all state-mandated student assessments for all grades and subjects, as well as district/school accountability measures, for the 2019-20 school year. CSDE is working closely with The College Board to determine the best course of action to take in regard to the administration of the SAT since the test plays an important role in high school students’ college acceptance, placement, and entrance.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has already taken an emotional toll on our school communities with significant disruptions to classroom learning that will affect Connecticut’s ability to administer assessments and produce valid results. When students and educators return to school in spring of 2020, they will be coming back from an extended absence. Districts should prioritize re-acclimating students, addressing their social-emotional needs, and providing high quality learning opportunities that prepare them for the following year,” said Commissioner Cardona. “This is not a decision I make lightly, however, this is an unprecedented time for public education. We are committed to supporting our students, teachers, leaders, and families and ensuring they feel a sense of normalcy and stability if and when they return to the school building this year.”
Governor Lamont and Commissioner Cardona determined it is not feasible for CSDE to administer its assessments due to the unique circumstances that have arisen as a result of COVID-19, such as statewide school closures coinciding with Connecticut’s upcoming SAT School Day testing window. CSDE will pursue any federal and state waivers necessary to assist Connecticut’s students and school communities through this crisis.
The COVID-19 pandemic is not only endangering the health and safety of Connecticut's citizens but also causing unprecedented disruption to all aspects of daily human life, including public education. While schools are currently closed until March 30, 2020, federal guidance suggests closures will likely extend beyond that time frame.
CSDE has asked school districts to immediately begin providing opportunities for continuity of education, as well as meeting other basic needs, for all students to the greatest extent possible and consistent with federal and state guidance. This week, CSDE compiled and disseminated a combination of print and digital resources designed to engage students in Grades PK-12 and support their continued learning during the school closure period. The agency is also utilizing RESC partners as repositories for resources, exemplars, and materials that will be available to all districts, and is in preliminary conversations with providers to explore distance learning options for students as it relates to access to technology.
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