Assemblyman Will Barclay (R,C,I—Pulaski) today urged the Commissioner of the State Education Department to reconsider the decision to change the ELA testing dates for this academic year. Last week, superintendents received notification from the State Education Department that the ELA tests would be administered uniformly, and the same test dates would apply to all the districts throughout the state.
Barclay joined other lawmakers today to voice his concerns about this sudden change, saying school calendars have already been approved by the Boards of Education and printed—ready for distribution next week. In a letter to the Commissioner, Barclay explained that after hearing from superintendents throughout the Assembly District, changing the testing dates would cause unnecessary confusion.
Part of the reason the State Education Department cites a need for this change is the new teacher and principal evaluation. The department says it wants to provide the test scores to the districts by June 15. However, Barclay said, in talking to superintendents, the date is arbitrary and could be moved to early July, which would give the districts the ability to keep their calendars intact.
“I understand the reasoning, and ideally, maybe uniform test dates are the way to go in the future. However, the notification for this academic year comes too late. Many districts have had their school calendars set since early spring. The teachers, schools and families plan their academic and extracurricular activities around this calendar that is already set. Changing it at this time is inconvenient and unnecessary,” said Barclay.