Democrats Introduce Bills to Pause Standardized Testing

LANSING, Mich. — Sens. Dayna Polehanki (D-Livonia), Erika Geiss (D-Taylor), Rosemary Bayer (D-Bloomfield Hills),Curtis Hertel Jr. (D-East Lansing), Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor), Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids), Sean McCann (D-Kalamazoo), and Paul Wojno (D-Warren) today introduced a bill package to pause most standardized tests for the 2020-2021 school year.  

Identical bills are expected to be introduced in the House by Democratic Representatives. 

“Our students are coming back to school after a long break from in-person instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we don’t know exactly what the impact will be on the upcoming school year. As a result, meaningful face-to-face instruction between teachers and their students will be vital to catch students up and get them back on track,” Sen. Polehanki said. “That’s why we are prioritizing assessments that drive instruction instead of putting students in front of computer screens to take tests for days on end.” 

The bills originated when parents, teachers, and administrators started raising questions on how to best prepare for the upcoming school year. These bills were drafted while considering the recommendations of the Michigan Return to School Advisory Council and Executive Order 2020-142 issued by Governor Whitmer.  

“With our children’s education and future at risk, it doesn’t make sense for us to get back to ‘business as usual’ in the midst of an unprecedented moment,” Sen. Geiss said. “We need to take the time to think critically about how to best ensure that all students get the education they need while teachers can safely evaluate students’ growth and comprehension of the material.” 

Highlights of the bills in this package include: 

Education leaders from across the state have recognized the need to prioritize instruction over standardized testing for the coming school year. As such, Michigan State Superintendent for instruction Dr. Michael Rice has also requested a student testing and school accountability waiver from the U.S. Department from Education.  

The SAT, which is linked to college entrance, and a few other tests will remain. Furthermore, schools will retain the ability to do benchmark tests to give students, parents, and teachers important information on student progress. 

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