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Schools across the United States will not have to the administrator any federally required tests for this school year, President Trump and the U.S. Department of Education announced Friday- marking a sweeping round of announcements heard in all fifty states. In the last week, advocacy groups have pushed the Department of Education to cancel testing- despite this happening on a smaller scale in states like Texas, Georgia, and Pennsylvania without federal permission.“ When pressed Trump elaborated by saying, "They’ve been through a lot. They’ve been going back and forth, schools open, schools not open…We’re not going to be enforcing that.”
From around the country, educators rejoiced, but with hesitation, hoping that this is the start of the country NOT focusing so much on high stakes testing and what students actually learn. "I'm ecstatic that President Trump has decided to just cancel the upcoming high stakes testing, but we need to also look into suspending high-stakes testing for the next school year," said Librarian Lindsey from Texas.
Secretary Betsy DeVos commented, "Students need to be focused on staying healthy and continuing to learn. Teachers need to be able to focus on remote learning and other adaptations. Neither students nor teachers need to be focused on high-stakes tests during this difficult time. Students are simply too unlikely to be able to perform their best in this environment. Our actions today provide turnkey flexibilities for state and local leaders to focus on the immediate needs of their students and educators without worrying about federal repercussions. I've spoken with many local education leaders in the past days, and I'm inspired by their efforts to help their students continue to learn and grow. We're going to continue to provide every flexibility possible to help make that as simple as possible."
For states unable to assess its students may seek a waiver from federal testing requirements by completing a form available at oese.ed.gov.
In addition to no testing, there was also a glimmer of hope at the White House Briefing for the millions of Americans struggling with student loan debt- college student loan payments and interest would be temporarily suspended for upwards of 60 days. President Donald Trump said, "We have temporarily waived all interest on federally held student loans. They will be very happy to hear that, and I have instructed them to take that action immediately.”
Adding to those sentiments, Education Secretary, Betsy Devos, added, "These are anxious times, particularly for students and families whose educations, careers, and lives have been disrupted. Right now, everyone should be focused on staying safe and healthy, not worrying about their student loan balance growing. I commend President Trump for his quick action on this issue, and I hope it provides meaningful help and peace of mind to those in need."
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