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By ARep | February 11th, 2014 - 2:30pm
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Measure Would Ban Testing Not Required By State, Federal Government

Assemblyman Dave Rible wants to limit the amount of standardized tests administered to New Jersey students.

Rible is sponsoring a bill that would prohibit testing other than assessments mandated by the state and federal government. He said the measure was drafted in response to concerns about the amount of standardized testing in schools.

"Parents and educators are becoming increasingly concerned about the amount of testing that we are imposing on our schoolchildren," said Rible, R-Monmouth and Ocean. "While I recognize the need for student assessment, we need to ensure that we are not mandating so much testing that we are actually harming the students."

Rible noted that the implementation of the new Common Core Curriculum Standards is adding to concerns about the amount of testing required. At a recent hearing of the Assembly Education Committee, officials involved with implementing the new standards attested to the inconsistency in standardized testing among different school districts. They also conceded that the new standards will not result in a decrease in student assessments.

"With these new standards we could be looking at even more required testing," he said. "It is important that we limit assessments to only the absolutely essential tests and do not add to the already significant amount of testing in our schools."

Under the legislation, school districts would be able to administer currently mandated testing such as the NJASK and HSPA. In addition, the measure allows districts to comply with other mandates, including teacher evaluations, by requiring school districts to demonstrate to the state Department of Education why the assessment is necessary.

"As a parent of a public school student I have seen firsthand the impact of school testing on children who are stressed and reaching their breaking point," said Rible. "We need to find the balance that will allow our schools to prepare our children for success but, at the same time, lets our kids be kids."

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"Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, a Hudson County Democrat, is balking. He claimed Tuesday that members of his caucus are divided over the measure and that his house is in no real rush – besides, even if enacted this year, the reforms would not take effect until 2017, he said. And with the growing belief that Christie could skip town to run for president, some Democrats are not eager to give him another talking point for his résumé. Christie’s plans to stump for Republican candidates in New Hampshire later Thursday only fuel that suspicion." - columnist Charles Stile

- The Bergen Record

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