Georgia seeks to suspend standardized testing for 2020-2021 academic year

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and State School Superintendent Richard Woods said they have decided to submit a waiver to suspend standardized testing for 2020-2021. This comes as most school districts in the state are planning for another unusual year, deciding between traditional in-person learning, remote learning, or a hybrid of both. 

The waiver would be sent to the U.S. Department of Education for the suspension of the 2020-21 Georgia Milestones assessment and CCRPI school and district rating.

"Georgia will submit a waiver to the U.S. Department of Education for the suspension of the 2020-21 Georgia Milestones assessment and CCRPI school and district rating," Kemp and Woods said in a joint statement, "Additionally, effective immediately, the Georgia Department of Education is suspending the teacher evaluation (TKES) summative rating for 2020-21."

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In response to the decision, the Georgia Association of Educators President Charlotte Booker released to the following statement to FOX 5: 

"The Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) fully agrees with Governor Kemp and Superintendent Woods in their seeking a waiver of the 20-21 Georgia Milestones test," said GAE President Charlotte Booker.  "GAE feels this is the correct course of action to take with the unprecedented uncertainty facing our schools for this coming school year.  We also realize that should the waiver be granted, there will be funds available.  We ask legislators to reinvest those savings to help shore up other COVID-related education cuts such as school counselors and nurses."

Kemp and Woods said they are optimistic the waiver will be granted due to the effect the COVID-19 pandemic will likely have on the upcoming school year.

“I don’t think that was necessary for a child to pass anyway,” said grandparent Charlene Laster. 

FOX 5 spoke to a DeKalb County teacher who says students need a break. 

“Students have to have proper preparation in order to perform at their best,” said Carl Weaver. 

FOX 5 spoke to some parents who disagree. 

“It’s a slow dumbing down of the standards and we should be raising the bar,” said Dargan Burns, Dekalb County School parent. 

“I think kids need to be prepared for the future,” said Burns. “They are always going to be evaluated and tested.” 

“I think it’s more important that they are taught lessons rather than a teacher focusing on teaching to the test,” said Laster. 

In March, Georgia became one of the first states to suspend testing during the Coronavirus pandemic. If approved, Georgia students will go two years without taking the Georgia Milestones Test.