ALBANY, N.Y. — New York State United Teachers released the following statement today regarding the state’s plan for the administration of standardized exams in grades 3–8 and high school if the U.S. Department of Education denies waivers of exam requirements:

“In a year that has been anything but standard, forcing states to administer standardized exams is just plain poor federal policy,” NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said. “The state is making the most of a bad situation by scaling back this year’s testing requirements and limiting stress on students who already have gone through so much. Commissioner Rosa, Chancellor Young, and the Board of Regents are doing what’s necessary to put students’ needs first in a frustratingly backward situation.”

NYSUT previously encouraged the state to request a federal waiver of grades 3–8 and high school testing requirements. Thousands of comments were submitted to the state by educators demanding a waiver of testing requirements this year.

“Whatever ‘data’ the federal government tries to extract from this year’s tests must not be used to create a false narrative about students’ hard work in an unprecedented time,” NYSUT Executive Vice President Jolene T. DiBrango said. “We already know many students need additional academic and social-emotional supports because our educators are professionals trained in assessing their students’ needs. The state is doing all it can to limit what additional stress will result from these exams. Let’s put the focus on a path forward for every student and what it takes to help them bounce back.”

New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services, and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association, and the AFL-CIO.