A Parent Leader’s Response to Biden’s Mandate for Standardized Tests

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Education issued guidance to states on standardized testing in 2021. Essentially, it made clear that every state was required to administer standardized tests to assess student learning.

I am the Black parent of three middle school children, a veteran and a co-chair for “We The Parents” in New York. As a parent leader, I want to thank the Biden administration for putting children at the center of the national education discussion. It is imperative that we as parents and communities have a clear understanding of the depth of the educational impact of the pandemic. We cannot address the issues around the massive learning loss until we have a clear picture of where our children are academically.

It is rare that politicians at any level, especially the highest level, stand firm on promises they make during the campaign. So, bravo, President Biden. The educational effects of this pandemic will be felt for the next decade, especially since Black children in urban school districts are more likely to be in schools that decided to stay fully remote in September of 2020. This is in stark comparison to suburban and private schools that were much more likely to open fully in person or in a hybrid model.

The most important lesson to take from this statement is that parents need to stay encouraged when speaking up for the children in their communities. Parent leaders from across the country have expressed their concern with the drastic learning loss over the past year. Often met with “we can’t do assessments,” or “it’s not that big of learning loss,” parents have seen the difference in the quality of education and the pace of their child’s learning. The statement from the Biden administration validates what parents have been vocalizing for months. Parents have a voice and parents have power. We just need to do better at using them both.

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