DeKalb school system reschedules testing to avoid conflicts with religious holidays
DeKalb County Schools Superintendent R. Stephen Green has responded to an outcry over the school system’s testing schedule and has rearranged it to accommodate Jewish holy days.
The original dates for DeKalb’s ITBS tests in September conflicted with the Jewish holy days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Rabbi Joshua Heller of B’nai Torah told Reporter Newspapers, “This is potentially harmful to teachers and the district.” He estimated that in some DeKalb Schools 15 percent of students would have to take the test at a different date.
DeKalb County Commissioner Nancy Jester also wrote a letter asking the school system to change the testing dates.
“As a mom with two children in elementary school and one in middle school, I fully recognize the challenges of this process and its timeline,” Jester wrote. “But, surely the faith traditions of our friends and neighbors must be given considerable weight when crafting the testing calendar.”
The School District ultimately agreed.
“The revised school testing calendar removes all conflicts with religious holidays while ensuring timely testing for students,” Green said in a press release. “We have been responsive to concerns that have been raised and we have sought and arrived at a solution that is in the best interest of our children.”
Here is the full press release from DeKalb County Schools:
DeKalb County School District Superintendent Dr. R. Stephen Green announced today important changes to the school testing calendar for the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) and the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) for the 2015-2016 school year. These changes will remove all potential conflicts with religious observances.
The CogAT and ITBS are standardized tests used in the gifted identification process.
The revised testing calendar follows:
- Sept. 9, 10, 11, 16, 18, and 21 – ITBS
- Sept. 22, 23, 24, and 25 – ITBS make-up
- Oct. 5, 6, and 7 – CogAT
- Oct. 8 – CogAT make-up
“The revised school testing calendar removes all conflicts with religious holidays while ensuring timely testing for students,” said Dr. Green. “We have been responsive to concerns that have been raised and we have sought and arrived at a solution that is in the best interest of our children.”
The Superintendent expressed appreciation for the work of the calendar committee that met in Fall 2014. The committee was comprised of parents, teachers, students, business leaders, and administrators.
This story was provided courtesy of Reporter Newspapers.