Chairman Scott: Assessments and Funding Are Needed to Address Achievement Gaps

WASHINGTON – Today, Chairman Robert C. "Bobby" Scott (VA-03) issued the following statement after Education Department Secretary Betsy DeVos sent a letter to states regarding their obligation to administer statewide assessments of students’ academic progress for the 2020-2021 school year.

“I appreciate the Education Department’s decision to preserve the responsibility of all schools to conduct statewide assessments of students’ progress during the 2020-21 school year, as the law requires. There is no question that the COVID-19 pandemic is having severe consequences for students’ growth and achievement, particularly for our most vulnerable students. We cannot begin to address these consequences, unless we fully understand them. The statewide assessments will give local, state, and federal education leaders important information that will help get students back on track.

“The requirement for states and schools to conduct these assessments during a pandemic will mean additional costs for cash-strapped districts. But instead of eliminating the assessments, the discussion should be about how states can be helped in fulfilling this important responsibility. This announcement is, therefore, another reason why Congress must pass a comprehensive relief package with significant funding for public education.  

“Democrats continue to seek $300 billion in emergency education aid – as well as significant state and local funding relief – to help schools reopen safely, maintain services for students, and avoid widespread layoffs of teachers and school staff. Today’s decision by the Education Department will help states and schools set clear goals for helping students recover from the pandemic, but it may be meaningless, if we fail to provide the funding they need to reach those goals.”


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