legupdateOn Thursday, March 26, the General Assembly unanimously passed  A-4165, which would allow a parent or guardian to exclude a student from administration of certain assessments. The bill would establish a procedure for a parent or guardian of a public school student to provide written notification that the student will not participate in the administration of a PARCC (Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) test.

NJSBA opposes the bill because it creates a statutory “opt out” provision that is likely to encourage a larger number of students to refuse to take the test. The bill institutionalizes a process that was never intended to occur, and potentially puts millions of dollars in federal funds at risk. Additionally, the bill requires districts to provide “educationally appropriate ungraded alternative activities” or allow the student to engage in supervised reading or other self-directed work during the time in which the assessment is being administered. Any such activity may not occur in the same room in which the assessment is being administered. NJSBA believes that such requirements can place an additional financial burden on local districts. No date has been set for the Senate to consider its version of the bill, S-2767, in committee.

S-1857 also passed unanimously out of the Assembly and would establish measures to deter steroid use among students. It appropriates $45,000 to the New Jersey Department of Education for New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association testing of student-athletes for steroids and other performance enhancing substances. NJSBA supports the bill.