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State Sen. Latimer Urges Congress To Revamp Public School Testing Mandates

State Sen. George Latimer
State Sen. George Latimer Photo Credit: File

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – In a letter to the members of Congress representing his 37th Senate District and New York’s U.S. Senators, Senator George Latimer (D-Rye) urged for a revamping of the standardized testing requirements of the “No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.”

In a letter to Congress members Lowey, Engel and Maloney, and Senators Schumer and Gillbrand, Latimer stated, “It has recently been brought to my attention that the United States Department of Education denied the request of the New York State Education Department to provide a waiver which would allow our schools to better meet the needs of children with disabilities and those who are English Language Learners.”

First adopted in 2002, NCLB created a substantial and rigid system of standardized testing.

Latimer asked his colleagues to work on rewriting NCLB now, saying the current law is failing to meet children's needs in both these areas. In March, the NYS Education Department requested a waiver from the federal law, allowing for developmentally appropriate testing standards for a child with serious disabilities and a second year of prep time for English Language Learners for children just starting to learn English. Both were denied by the US Department of Education in June, based largely on the federal government’s interpretation of NCLB.

“These are both reasonable requests, affecting thousands of students across our state and likely hundreds of thousands across the country. Putting testing above educational needs and abilities creates a system of accountability based on fallacy and failure as a self-fulfilling prophecy,” continued Latimer.

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