Many still concerned CMS students learning remotely must go into schools to take tests

Many still concerned CMS students learning remotely must go into schools to take tests

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — Many families have made the decision to keep their children learning remotely, but some students are still required to go into schools to take tests.

Channel 9 has spoken with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teacher Jen Bourne before, and have checked in with her throughout the pandemic.

“If we say we’re going to focus on ‘SEL’ (social and emotional learning) and we’re going to support kids socially and emotionally, we’re absolutely working against that,” Bourne said.

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This week, she shared her concerns about high school students having to return for required federal and state tests in person in December, regardless of whether they’re in the full remote academy.

“For the federal government to put states in that position is dangerous, and for parents to feel like they don’t have a choice about that, or for a teenager to feel like they are having to make an impossible choice and choose between their GPA and the health and safety of themselves and their families. That’s unfair, it’s bully behavior,” she said.

Bourne is part of NC Families for School Testing Reform, calling on state and federal leaders to do something about the issue.

Eyewitness News reporter Elsa Gillis has said that CMS is seeking a waiver from both the state and federal government for the required in-person tests, and talked about it again in a meeting Thursday.

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“As part of those federal requirements we’re going to have to administer those assessments in-person because of test security reasons, but what that means is you’re going to be putting our students in a position to choose to take those tests, which at this point counts for 20% of their grade as a final, or not take those tests and take zeros,” said Dr. Frank Barnes, CMS Chief of Equity and Accountability Officer.

Bourne said COVID-19 aside, this is a time to be looking at testing reform as a whole.

“We believe as a family of educators that every child brings something to the table, and when you reduce that child to a level one, you’re not really honoring that full child,” she said.

Bourne said she hopes parents and students will speak up. There’s a petition circulating from the testing reform group calling on to change this. It currently has over 1,000 signatures.