Press Release

To: Education Reporters
From: Ian Rosenblum, Executive Director of The Education Trust–New York
Date: April 6, 2020
Re: Equity-driven approaches to assessment, grade-level promotion, and high school graduation

Background

Indefinite school closures due to the coronavirus pandemic are a stark reminder of the unique and central role that schools play in the lives of children and young adults: a source of stability, a bastion of learning and development, a place where relationships are built and nurtured, even a source of daily food. We also know that students who are low-income, students of color, English learners, and students with disabilities had less access to high-quality educational experiences before this pandemic and that the need to offer support and services is even more urgent now.

On Monday, the New York State Board of Regents met for the first time since the school closures started and took initial emergency actions to respond to these unique challenges. During the meeting, the Chancellor indicated the state will also cancel this year’s June Regents exams and that guidance on the exams and high school graduation measures will be announced tomorrow.

Next Steps and Policy Recommendations

In a new policy brief, we identify several policy decisions that will require attention if schools remain closed for most or all of the remainder of the school year and offer a framework to guide state and district leaders in advancing equity in coronavirus response. The policy brief examines:

  • High-school graduation and postsecondary transition
  • Assessment and meeting students’ learning needs
  • Grade-level promotion

Read the policy brief at EdTrustNY.org.

In these extraordinary circumstances, schools will need flexibility to address one-time challenges with assessments, grade-level promotion, and high school graduation if school closures continue. But most of all, students and families—and especially those who have been underserved by our education system—need to have confidence that they will be given meaningful and accurate information about how they are performing each year, receive the intensive academic and socio-emotional support to keep from falling behind, ultimately meet grade-level standards, and successfully transition to college and the workforce. These issues must be addressed together in order to prioritize educational equity in coronavirus response.