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CPS is planning to give the SAT and PSAT exams in person this fall, starting with the September 23 administration. Once again they have missed the mark. Our predominantly Black and Latinx students and their families are facing many economic, social, health, and emotional challenges in this moment. Yet, CPS is still requiring Seniors to take the SAT before they graduate.

According to FairTest.org, two-thirds of all U.S. four-year colleges and universities are test-optional or test-blind for fall 2021 applicants. Why is CPS doing in-person testing during a pandemic, bringing students together in schools, and putting them, CPS staff, and their families at risk? For the small number of students needing to take the SAT now because they are applying to one of the few colleges requiring the SAT, CPS should provide a safe way to take the test, in a small group, with PPE and ventilation.That, however, does not require CPS to create unnecessary risk by setting up in-person testing for all Juniors and Seniors.

CPS staff are all facing unprecedented times that have required teaching in new ways, supporting students and their families with resources, providing emotional support, and troubleshooting tech issues for families. Volunteering to proctor a test that isn’t necessary for most colleges shouldn’t be a competing force when so much else is needed. Teachers who do volunteer are told they will not teach for one day. Evidently, CPS thinks that proctoring this test is more important than teaching.

During this stressful time, CPS should not ask Seniors to endure the additional stress of taking a test where what they have learned takes a back seat to their ability to answer multiple choice questions. This is especially true because academic studies have shown the SAT and other standardized tests to be racially biased.

Because the SAT is an Illinois graduation requirement, CPS should ask the state to waive this mandate for Chicago’s students. Further, Illinois and other states should demand that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos grant a waiver of federal accountability policies during these unprecedented times.

The Chicago Teachers Union calls on CPS to reverse their decision to offer the SAT and PSAT this fall. We encourage High School teachers to publicize the facts about the SAT within their school community and encourage fellow staff members not to be a volunteer proctor. CPS should not encourage students or CTU members to put themselves in unsafe conditions for an unnecessary and unfair test. Organize and fight back!