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New York Board of Regents backs down on some ESSA regulations

September 18, 2018 05:52 PM

The New York Board of Regents is backing down on some of their original proposed standardized testing regulations announced earlier this year. the Board first announced their plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act regulations in May. After more than 1900 public comments came in about the proposal changes were drafted.

The original draft included a regulation that would have allowed the Education Commissioner to mandate federal Title I funds be redirected to programs that would help boost participation rates in schools with less than 95% of students choosing to take the tests. those in opposition said those dollars are needed to pay for much needed educational programs, especially those in underprivileged schools.

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"We decided that was not the intent to hurt any student or take any money from children," said MaryEllen Elia, state Education Commissioner. "We want to make sure everyone is aware we are working through their concerns that parents and teachers had."

On Tuesday the new York State United Teachers praised the Board's move.

"Parents should not be penalized. Children should not be penalized and schools should not be penalized for choosing to opt out of state tests," said Jolene DiBrango, Executive Vice President of NYSUT.

Last year 19% of eligible students chose not to participate in New York standardized testing. The opt-out movement picked up steam several years ago when the state said it was considering evaluating teachers n how their students perform on the tests. Many educators and parents said that was unfair.

"The benchmarking of assessments is not accurate. It's invalid and we believe it mislabels students in New York," said DiBrango.

Elia says the Regents still have more work to do to come up with ways to meet federal requirements in participation. The teachers' union hopes they loosen up regulations even more.

"We're still working under federal law. We have to have yearly standardized tests but certainly here in New York tests can be improved," said DiBrango.

Other changes to the proposed regulations include making it harder for schools with low participation rates to be placed on a watch list by giving them leeway if they have higher scores.

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Jacquie Slater

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