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TPS leaders say there’s no room for testing during a pandemic

Dr. Durant weighs in on incomplete report card, and the state mandate to test K-3rd graders by September 30th.
Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 5:58 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Schools across the area have had to make major changes to deal with the coronavirus pandemic going into the 2020-2021 school year. For most, that means online remote learning or hybrid learning, spending some time in the classroom and some online. Despite these changes, the Ohio Department of Education is requiring that students from Kindergarten to third grade go through mandatory testing by the end of the month. Leaders in the Toledo Public School system say that’s unreasonable since those tests evaluate social skills, something difficult to measure with social distancing.

“At the end of the day, doing an assessment of kindergartners which requires social evaluation,” explains TPS Superintendent Dr. Romules Durant. “They have to interact among peers but we are requiring social distancing. What we are finding is that parents are saying, no way am I putting my child in the mix interacting with other children."

Dr. Durant says he would rather focus on getting students out of remote learning, making sure students and teachers are safe and healthy, and bringing back programs and athletics for students.

“Those are the things that keep me up at night, not testing or so forth,” he says. "We understand where our kids are at. At the end of the day, I put my confidence in our educators and teachers, because they go above and beyond each and every day in providing personal sacrifices in order for our children to learn.”

Testing also played a role in the most recent Ohio Department of Education annual report cards for area districts, which were released on Tuesday. Eighty percent of the results are based on spring test scores, but spring tests were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Parents can learn about the educational level of their teachers and attendance, but they will learn little about their school’s progress or growth.

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