In response to a barrage of criticism from parents and educators about excessive testing, the Board of Regents is tabling a vote on a resolution that would have made standalone field tests in grades 3-8 mandatory.
The resolution would have prevented school districts from refusing to administer the controversial tests, which try out questions that may be included on future exams. The measure was scheduled to be voted on Feb. 25.
Instead, the board is requesting $8.4 million in the state budget to enable the Education Department to print more versions of the regular tests with the field test questions embedded in them.
"Pending action on that request, the board will not act on the proposed regulation at this time," said Education Department spokeswoman Jeanne Beattie.
And what caused the blink?
The proposed regulation, making the standalone filed tests mandatory, caused a public outcry, and thousands of letters were sent to the Education Department in opposition to the plan during the 45-day public comment period, which ended Jan. 20.
It seems even the unaccountable members of the NY Board of Regents are starting to feel some pressure on their education reform agenda.
Still, as NYSAPE notes, this may not be the end of the mandatory field testing push from the Regents:
Anna Shah of the NYS Allies for Public Education, an advocacy group that includes about 50 parent and educator groups, said she found the tabling of the resolution problematic.
Shah said the Education Department had made no effort to post the public comments or respond to inquiries from the public on any of the their concerns.
Asking for a large amount in funding from the state is just a way for the Education Department to avoid answering questions, she said.
"The $8.4 million is a pipe dream," said Shah. "They are just making a show of a good-faith effort."
And when that good-faith effort gets shot down by the pols in charge, we may see mandatory field testing shoved through anyway.