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Photo: Erin Scott/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Department of Education told states on Monday that they must resume standardized testing of students this spring after it was suspended a year ago because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The decision to resume testing means schools will have to find a way to tests to tens of millions of students, many of whom are still learning remotely, according to Chalkbeat.

Federal law requires states to annually test students and publicly report the results.

  • The results are sometimes used to hold low-scoring schools accountable, but this year they will be used "a source of information for parents and educators to target resources and support, rather than for accountability purposes this year," the department said.
  • The department is allowing states to move assessments to the summer or fall, to give the assessment remotely and to shorten the test to prioritize in-person learning time.

What they're saying: "The Department of Education is committed to supporting all states in assessing student learning during the pandemic to help target resources and support to the students with the greatest needs," said Ian Rosenblum, acting assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education.

The big picture: Multiple states, including California, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey and New York, have already asked for or are planning to request a waiver from this year’s testing requirements, according to Chalkbeat.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Feb 23, 2021 - Technology

Exclusive: New plan to expand online education for U.S. workers

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

2U, a major provider of remote college and professional training, is partnering with a company that works on education reimbursement to expand online schooling opportunities for U.S. workers, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: American workers need help affordably reskilling for the age of automation, but existing higher education opportunities often leave them unprepared and laden with debt. The new partnership aims to take advantage of remote education to meet workers where they are, with what they need.

Updated 33 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Here come Earmarks 2.0

DeLauro at a hearing in May 2020. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House Appropriations Committee is preparing to restore a limited version of earmarks, which give lawmakers power to direct spending to their districts to pay for special projects.

Why it matters: A series of scandals involving members in both parties prompted a moratorium on earmarks in 2011. But Democrats argue it's worth the risk to bring them back because earmarks would increase their leverage to pass critical legislation with a narrow majority, especially infrastructure and spending bills.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

UN says Paris carbon-cutting plans fall far short

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Nations' formal emissions-cutting pledges are collectively way too weak to put the world on track to meet the Paris climate deal's temperature-limiting target, a United Nations tally shows.

Driving the news: This morning the UN released an analysis of the most recent nationally determined contributions (NDCs) — that is, countries' medium-term emissions targets submitted under the 2015 pact.