Written by Morgan McKay in Spectrum News on March 20, 2020

Federally mandated tests in schools should be waived as classrooms remain empty during the coronavirus pandemic, Rep. Elise Stefanik said in a letter on Thursday to top House lawmakers.

Students in grades 3-12 are required to take English language arts and math tests, but lawmakers and the New York State Teachers Union worry that students will not be prepared. Schools across New York closed Wednesday for at least the next two weeks.

“Teachers and school leaders have enough on their plates,” Stefanik wrote in the letter.

Lawmakers are asking for a one-year moratorium on all federal testing requirements. Earlier this week, the New York State United Teachers union also called on the federal government to waive this testing mandate for grades 3-8.

“Secretary [Betsy] DeVos has taken steps in her power to allow states and districts to pursue testing waivers because of the COVID-19 crisis. However, these steps do not eliminate burdensome paperwork and uncertainty for local school districts,” Stefanik wrote. “A blanket waiver will require congressional action.”

Stefanik also announced that she filed signatures to appear on the November ballot. Her campaign said she has enough signatures to qualify for the Republican, Conservative and Independence ballot lines.

Stefanik is running against Democrat Tedra Cobb in the race for New York’s 21st Congressional District.

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