Education Advocates Strongly Urge Passage of Legislation Clarifying High School Graduation Test Requirements

January 28, 2019

High school graduation assessments (tests) are key tool to ensuring college and workforce ready students

Executive Director for Better Education for Kids Shelley Skinner and Executive Director of JerseyCAN Patricia Morgan issued the following statement regarding the Appellate Court’s stay of its December 31, 2018 ruling invalidating the regulations implementing the state’s graduation test:

“Despite the Appellate Division’s stay, immediate action is needed to protect New Jersey’s high academic standards and provide a path for nearly 170,000 New Jersey junior and seniors to graduate high school. To be clear, without a legislative remedy, current high school seniors will be unable to graduate this spring.

Eliminating the test requirement is not an acceptable way to address this issue. New Jersey prides itself on being an educational leader and now is not the time to water down our academic standards. A diploma from New Jersey represents excellence and rigor. We only need to look to states like Massachusetts, which has even more prescriptive testing requirements, to see the impact rigorous requirements have on student achievement.

Our students from every ethnic, socio-economic, and geographic background deserve to know that their diplomas are meaningful tools for future life success and that they are not merely being socially promoted through high school. Clarifying the testing requirement is necessary to guarantee equity and excellence and end chaos in the field.”

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Better Education for Kids, Inc. (B4K) is an independent voice for common-sense education reform in New Jersey.  B4K stands for the proposition that the first priority of the New Jersey public school system must be the best interests of New Jersey students, not the special interests that dominate the status quo. To this end, every class must have an effective teacher and every school an effective principal, and teachers and principals should be given the necessary training and resources to be effective.  Public policy and all administrative and personnel policies should support these goals. Parents must be empowered with access to data and other information to hold educators, leaders and  elected officials accountable for their performance.

Launched in 2013, JerseyCAN: The New Jersey Campaign for Achievement Now is a nonprofit organization that advocates for all students across the state to have access to high-quality schools. We work to improve policies and programs to support equity and excellence in New Jersey education.  For more information, visit www.jerseycan.org.