In light of the ongoing public health emergency due to COVID-19 and the consequent upheaval it has caused in every public school community across Arkansas, the Arkansas Education Association today asked Secretary Johnny Key to halt high stakes, standardized testing for the 2020-21 school year.
As we prioritize the health and safety of students, educators and the broader school community, it would be detrimental to shift our focus and our resources away from achieving this goal.
In a letter, which you can read in full here, educators also call for a suspension of the Teacher Evaluation and Support System (TESS) for the same reasons, as well as a shift in professional development requirements to focus on topics that will better focus on student needs.
These include trauma-informed educational strategies; supporting social and emotional health; as well as, virtual and other off-site teaching and learning strategies.
Educators must have the time and other resources to determine how best to offer safety, support and educational opportunity to all of Arkansas’s public-school students during the 2020-2021 school year. Taking these actions will aid in achieving that goal.