Stop Racist Proctoring in Schools!

Miguel Cardona, Secretary of Education

Schools across the country are using discriminatory online proctoring software that watches students on their computers while they take tests. But this software often does not recognize children of color.

My daughter Amaya could not easily sit down to take a biology quiz like her White classmates because proctoring software would not “recognize” her as a person. She took the test at noon with sunlight streaming through her window, and turned on all the lights in her room. It still didn’t work. She tried 10 times. She literally had to shine an LED flashlight in her face before the software would allow her to take the quiz. This type of bias piles additional stress and anxiety onto kids of color who are already dealing with the challenges of remote learning, and it tells them they don’t belong.

During remote learning, thousands of schools have paid billions for proctoring software that will watch kids via their computers to ensure that they aren’t cheating. However, this type of facial recognition software is notorious for not working well on people with dark skin because the companies that develop the product mostly test it on white people. The consequences for children of color can be devastating -- higher stress, unfounded accusations of cheating, and a clear message from their school that they aren’t welcome.  

And it's not just students of color. Students with facial tics or differences, neurodivergent students, and students with anxiety have all been discriminated against by online proctoring software. As a special educator who has worked in elementary education for years, I know the harm this will do to kids.

Please join me in urging Secretary Cardona to support equity in education and reject the use of invasive, racially biased online proctoring software in K-12 schools.  

- Dr. Janice Wyatt-Ross

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To: Miguel Cardona, Secretary of Education
From: [Your Name]

Dear Secretary Cardona,

During the Covid-19 pandemic, online proctoring companies have made billions of dollars using invasive and discriminatory technology that harms students of color and students with disabilities. Many of these companies brag that their software is available for students as young as Kindergarten, and elementary, middle, and high schools document this software being available to instructors.

There are many equitable, student-centered approaches to evaluation available to K-12 teachers. Abusive and biased online proctoring software should not be one of them.

Please advise K-12 public schools to stop using online proctoring software immediately.