New York’s high school regent’s exam is a required graduation test. Few states host an exit exam, but due to the Buffalo Shooting, the testing has been canceled. The content of the History and Government section has been deemed inappropriate due to content that may host “the potential to compound student trauma” related to the recent violence.
The regents exam was slated for June 1st, and tests have already been printed. Being that the section in question cannot be removed without reprinting the entire exam, the New York Department of Education has chosen to remove the requirement altogether. In addition, the Board of Regents is considering removing the requirement for next year as well.
How removing the state standard regents exam next year or the year after will encourage students to study and learn is unclear, but this follows New York’s education trends which have utilized many societal issues to insert politics into the classroom and remove education standards which ensure students are receiving a proper education. During the pandemic New York imposed some of the strictest lockdown measures witnessed across the country, and kept students involved in remote learning well after schools in other states had resumed in-person classes.
They are currently in the process of opening fully remote schools. All this despite a lack of enrollment and involvement for schools that remained virtual longer. In addition, the New York Department of Education used pandemic relief funds to instate racially biased school politics which included teacher training and lessons to teach students about, “anti-racism,” “white privilege,” and “implicit bias.” There might be more at play as to the reasoning for canceling the regents exam.
In addition to these controversial moves, the New York Department of Education is no longer allowing teachers to penalize students for chronic absenteeism or turning in late work. This comes after students were given easier grading scales during lockdowns. Now some are questioning if the decision to cancel the 2022 regents exam is entirely based on the student’s best interests, or if there is another explanation.
Just last week, it was reported that New York state officials were working to make it easier to pass the regents exam. Last year, students were exempt from the test requirement, and in 2020 it was also canceled. The school system is currently struggling to meet student’s needs. While teacher shortages and attendance declines impact the state’s schools, many wonder if less students will be able to pass. This may be commonly connected to the lockdowns, but in fact, 124 New York City Schools were struggling before the pandemic. As funding is based on attendance and performance, a lot is at stake concerning the regents exam. Removing it, allows the New York Department of Education to continue operating without further scrutiny.
Regardless of the underlying issues, the regents exam has been canceled and the reason given is based on sensitivity for students who may be triggered by test questions. Whether any of the students witnessed the shooting, or were near the site of the attack, has not been mentioned. Furthermore, how the state of New York decides to ensure that students have completed their public school education without the exit exam has yet to be addressed. For now, parents and students will just have to trust the teachers’ marks.