The ACLU of Rhode Island applauded the Senate Education Committee’s vote today to approve a bill imposing a three-year moratorium on the use of high stakes testing for high school students.

ACLU of Rhode Island executive director Steven Brown said: “With graduation day fast approaching, we are extremely pleased that the Education Committee has taken action to halt the Board of Education’s unfair and arbitrary NECAP test requirement. Students who have met all the other criteria for graduation should not find themselves deprived of a diploma because of their score on this rightly criticized standardized test. For more than a year, the Board has turned a blind eye to the multiple problems generated by its ever-shifting graduation requirements, and we commend the Education Committee for stepping in to address this serious issue.”

Just today, members of the Board received a draft of a report that summarizes focus group meetings recently held with Rhode Island educators. According to the report, many of the educators called for a moratorium on the use of the NECAP. As the report notes: “Teachers, principals and superintendents questioned the fairness of requiring students to demonstrate achievement on NECAP while schools are simultaneously implementing the Common Core,” with different standards than those purportedly measured by the NECAP.

In the meantime, the Board of Education is scheduled to meet on Monday and discuss a petition filed by the ACLU and sixteen other organizations that seeks a formal repeal of the Board’s high stakes testing regulation. The Board discussion was mandated by a court order issued two weeks ago in an ACLU lawsuit. The court found that the Board’s previous discussion of the petition in private last September violated the state’s Open Meetings Act.