Bill would shield testing opt-outs

by Walter Pierce

Photo by Heilig/Wikimedia

A bill pre-filed for the 2015 legislative session beginning in April would prohibit the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education from “penalizing a student for not taking certain assessments due to his parents’ refusal to allow such participation...”

House Bill 22 by Rep. Bob Hensgens, a Vermilion Parish Republican, would also protect teachers, schools and school systems from non-participation penalties.

The bill comes as public school districts across the state prepare to administer the PARCC test — short for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. A handful of parents here in Lafayette Parish have indicated they will not allow their children to take the test, prompting hand-wringing by Central Official staff who have said the non-participating students will be given scores of zero and that, ultimately, their parents’ decision to opt out of taking the PARCC will hurt both the performance score of the students’ schools as well as jeopardize the performance rating of their teachers.