In an interview with Die Zeit’s United States correspondent Heike Buchter, Jeff Bryant explains what’s behind the decision by the Biden administration to enforce the federal mandate for student academic testing in a pandemic even before incoming education secretary Miguel Cardona took office. Excerpts:

“‘[Cardona’s]  life story must have played a big role in his nomination,’ says Jeff Bryant, chief correspondent for Our Schools, a project that promotes public education…Cardona’s options for combating this existential crisis with grants and orders are limited. As in the federal German system, education is a matter for the federal states and municipalities in the USA. But he could use the political influence of his office, says education activist Jeff Bryant…The effects of the pandemic are adding to the pressure. The Chamber of Commerce, the lobbying association of large corporations, is concerned about the learning deficits among many students. The fixation on metrics, as they are common in business, is now deeply anchored in education officials in Washington, says Jeff Bryant. This is shown, among other things, in the fact that the Biden government announced before Cardona’s inauguration last week that it wanted to hold the annual state exams to record the effects of the pandemic on school performance. DeVos suspended testing last year.”