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legupdateOn Monday, Feb. 23, the state Assembly passed  A-4190, which would establish a three-year moratorium on the use of PARCC scores for students and educators.

The legislation eliminates the use of the PARCC test as a component of any evaluation rubric that the school district would use to assess the effectiveness of teachers and adminstrators for three years beginning in the 2015-2016 school year. It would also ban the use of the PARCC assessment for purposes of student placement in a gifted and talented program, placement in another program or intervention, grade promotion, as the state graduation proficiency test, any other school or district-level decision that affects students.

NJSBA Testimony NJSBA opposed the bill, testifying at an Assembly Education Committee hearing on Feb. 12 that the bill could jeopardize federal funding for the state, that would eliminate a tool to help students and local decision-makers, and that it frustrates ongoing tenure reforms.

“As written, the bill’s language would immediately put the state and local districts out of compliance with the federal ESEA waiver, which could jeopardize over $300 million in federal funding,” noted the NJSBA testimony. “New Jersey’s ESEA waiver requires a statewide assessment as part of overall measurement of student groups for purposes of determining need for intervention and/or corrective action. The ESEA waiver, which the Legislature supported in 2010 through the passage of ACR-127 and SCR-102, specifically requires the state to provide an annual assessment that districts are permitted to use as a tool for determining the need for intervention and corrective action within student groups, or entire schools.  A-4190 frustrates those purposes.”

A Senate counterpart to the bill, S-2768, has been introduced, but has not been assigned to a committee.

County Vocational School Facilities Construction Bill Approved On Monday, the full General Assembly also approved legislation that would create a unique funding mechanism to facilitate the construction of county vocational school facilities. Specifically, A-3970 would amend the “Educational Facilities Construction and Financing Act” (EFCFA) and authorize a county improvement authority to finance the construction of a new facility for a county vocational school district.  Upon the request of the board of education of a county vocational school district, the county improvement authority would issue its bonds to finance either the local share of a project that will receive an upfront grant for the state share of the project under EFCFA, or the total cost of a project that is eligible to receive state debt service aid under that same law. School facilities would be constructed pursuant to a design-build contract following procedures established by the New Jersey Schools Development Authority.

The measure, which the NJSBA supports, was approved by a vote of 70-4.  S-2659, the Senate counterpart to the A-3970, received committee approval in January and will likely be scheduled for a floor vote in the weeks ahead.