Superintendents of more than a dozen northeast Indiana school districts have joined in a letter to ask state officials to reconsider ILEARN achievement testing requirements this spring.

A total of 39 northeast Indiana superintendents signed the letter sent March 1 to Indiana Secretary of Education Katie Jenner, Gov. Eric Holcomb, Speaker of the House Todd Huston and Senate President Rodric Bray.

“On behalf of the school districts and communities of northeast Indiana, and for the good of our children, we ask you to please reconsider the current ILEARN requirements. Continuing with ILEARN during this unprecedented year would be a failure of imagination and would negatively impact needed instructional time as well as jeopardize student health and safety,” the letter says.

“ILEARN is expensive and provides little to no value for teachers and families. Instead, please use the valuable data we are already gathering and using to measure each student’s progress through our formative assessments,” the letter concludes.

The letter says ILEARN would “pull students away from critical instruction and skill development for anywhere from 8-12 days for each student. This would have an even larger negative impact in a year where student learning has already been greatly disrupted.”

Families of students who are attending school online from their homes may be uncomfortable about bringing students to school buildings for testing, the letter says. In some districts, up to 30% of students are attending virtually, it notes.

Quarantines involving teachers and students also could disrupt the testing process, the letter adds.

School districts already have student data from other tests and assessments, the letter says.

“We would be willing to share these data with the state to compile averages which would meet the stated policy goal and could be used by the state to meet federal requirements, all while also saving the state millions of dollars during a time of economic uncertainty,” the letter offers.

Superintendents who signed the letter, listed with their school districts, include Joel Mahaffey of Adams Central Community Schools, Brad Yates of Bluffton-Harrison MSD, Troy Gaff of Central Noble, Steve Teders of DeKalb Central, Marilyn S. Hissong of East Allen County Schools, Ann Linson of East Noble, Mark Daniel of Fort Wayne Community Schools, William Stitt of Fremont, Tonya Weaver of Garrett-Keyser-Butler, Anthony Cassel of Hamilton, Chad Daugherty of the Huntington County Community School Corporation, Eva Merkel of Lakeland, Teresa Gremaux of Manchester Community Schools, Jane Allen of Middlebury Community Schools, Kim Hiatt of North Adams Community Schools, Mike Springer of Northern Wells Community Schools, Chris Himsel of Northwest Allen County Schools, Jeff Reed of Prairie Heights, Daniel G. Hile of Smith-Green, Michelle Clouser-Penrod of South Adams Schools, Brian M. Sloan of Southern Wells Community Schools, Phil Downs of MSD Southwest Allen County, Brent Wilson of the Metropolitan School District of Steuben County, Mike Keaffaber of MSD of Wabash County, David Hoffert of Warsaw Community Schools, Galen Mast of West Noble, Randy Miller of Westview, Steve Darnell of Whitko Community School Corporation and Laura McDermott of Whitley County Consolidated Schools

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