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Press Release

NEA President Becky Pringle: Every state should use flexibility from the new federal guidance to focus on students, not invalid, unreliable standardized tests

NEA responds to Department of Education’s guidance on assessments
Published: February 22, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC – Earlier today, President Biden’s Department of Education released guidance on states’ responsibilities under federal law with regard to assessing school and student performance.  

The following statement can be attributed to NEA President Becky Pringle:   

“All students deserve and have the ability to demonstrate knowledge in many ways that are measurable by those who know them best – their educators.  

"We hope every state will submit a request to suspend high stakes school rankings and potentially harmful sanctions against already struggling schools. High stakes standardized tests administered during the global health crisis should not determine a student’s future, evaluate educators, or punish schools; nor should they come at the expense of precious learning time that students could be spending with their educators.  

"States should use this guidance to work with the educators and the Department of Education to tailor assessments that can actually determine where students are and help design an educational experience that fully supports their academic, social and emotional needs. 

“Standardized tests have never been valid or reliable measures of what students know and are able to do, and they are especially unreliable now. We need to ensure that our students who have been hardest hit during the pandemic- our Black, brown, rural, indigenous students, as well as those with special needs- receive the support they need. 

"We will work with the Department, states and districts to ensure we focus on the efforts that will support all of our students during this unprecedented time."   


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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators, students preparing to become teachers, healthcare workers, and public employees. Learn more at 

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National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.