NY Education: Aftermath of History Regents exam cancellation

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On the morning of Tuesday, May 24, eight days before the Regents, exams were cancelled for history and government.

Prior to the cancellation, test preparation was in full swing at Stuyvesant High School. Instantly, the class turned into a chorus of surprise and confusion.

“When we got confirmation that the U.S. History Regents exam would not move forward, I was elated,” a student said.

“Having one less test I had to pass to graduate felt like a significant weight off of my shoulders. But as details emerged, my initial excitement turned into alarm. I assumed that the exam was canceled due to an uptick in COVID cases. I soon learned that it was canceled because state education department officials were worried this test had ‘the potential to compound student trauma caused by the recent violence in Buffalo.'”

“The test was canceled because of yet another failure to protect us from gun violence, this time in a Buffalo, New York, supermarket where 10 people were shot dead in a racist massacre.”

Just hours after the Regents announcement, a gunman killed 19 fourth graders and two teachers in the most deadly school shooting in nearly a decade.

These are hardly isolated incidents.

At the time of this writing, there are over 200 mass shootings in the United States in 2022 alone.

“While my classmates and I appreciate the state education department’s attempt to ‘support our students and their well-being’ and shield us from further trauma, keeping the harsh reality of gun violence off of a standardized test is insufficient. Why not focus on removing the threat of gun violence, not the tests that mention the danger?”

What happened in Buffalo and Uvalde are traumatic. Persistent racism, inadequate gun laws, and the violence they cause are traumatic.

”We study history to use the past as a framework for our present. In school, we must cover difficult events — violent, traumatizing, and tragic events, such as slavery and the dropping of atomic bombs — to prevent history from repeating itself.”

“Sweeping certain historical events under the rug prevents us from progressing past them. How ironic it is to cancel a U.S. History exam because our history with gun violence is too much for us to handle.”

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