ACLU Responds to Gist Change of Heart

Aug 27, 2014

The head of the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union says he welcomes any further delay in linking test scores to high school graduation.

ACLU of RI Director Steve Brown says waiting until 2020 could give schools more time to address systemic problems and intervene with struggling students. But Brown says he remains concerned that the State Department of Education is simply delaying a policy that would hold students accountable for the failures of their schools.

"[U]nless the Department and the schools get serious about using the test data to provide individualized support for students at an early grade, we will find ourselves facing the same problem six years from now," Brown wrote in an email.

State Education Commissioner Deborah Gist has recommended a delay until 2020 for a policy requiring standardized test scores as part of a high school diploma. She had previously pushed for the policy to take effect this year, but state lawmakers imposed a moratorium until 2017, amid protests from the ACLU, student groups and others.