On January 27, 2011, over 75,000 students were placed at an unfair disadvantage when they were told that they would not be granted the opportunity to take their State Regents exams. We now teach and learn in a climate where there is an emphasis on testing. In New York City, not only is a student’s diploma determined by state tests, but these tests are used to evaluate schools and potentially educators. By postponing these exams until June, we are forcing educators and students to continue to focus on test prep, rather than curricula that focus on college preparation. In addition to the continuation of test prep curricula, the cancellation of the exams jeopardize students’ likelihood of a timely graduation, increases pressure for students to pass multiple exams in June, and stifles students’ visions for higher education.
We hope that the state and the city will hear the requests of parents, educators and students to schedule a make-up date as soon as possible so that all New York students can actualize their right to take the required exams they need in order to graduate. New tests can easily be made by cutting and pasting from previous exams. If that is not ideal, allow schools to utilize a performance-based assessment in lieu of taking the exams to meet graduation requirements. Another option is to administer the June 2011 test if it is already developed.
By eliminating the same opportunities granted to all other students in New York State, we are jeopardizing thousands of New York City students' chances of graduating on time with a Regents diploma and we are also increasing the extreme external pressure on schools and educators to produce results that satisfy policymakers in terms of Regents scores. By ignoring these facts, the Regents is setting up our students and our schools for potential failure and creating an inequitable system.
The Regents must provide a more adequate plan for our children than simply postponing their tests until June. In the future, we would also expect a contingency plan so that our children have the same opportunities and accommodations as the rest of the children in New York State.
We ask that they respond to this request as soon as possible.