School boards and education officials are seeing resistance from students and parents as millions of students across the nation struggle to complete the federal and state standardized test designed to assess students’ proficiency in the Common Core curriculum. The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exams are computerized tests designed to be more challenging than their predecessors. Even among the education and legislative communities, there is a growing resistance movement challenging the effectiveness and necessity of the PARCC exams. In some states such as New Jersey, this has culminated in protests and students abstaining from attending class during testing periods all together. This is creating quite a challenge for regulators and education officials.
Many states have no policies directly addressing whether students can opt-out of standardized tests, as the exams are ungraded and not mandatory for educational advancement. While the Department of Education has advised districts that the tests are mandatory for students to complete, currently students are not required to take the PARCC tests to move to the next grade level, and unlike the High School Proficiency Assessment, PARCC is not a graduation requirement. Giving educators little leverage over students and parents who choose to abstain from participating.
Many school officials are caught between following state directives and finding ways to reassure parents that these tests are important benchmark exams. Legislators have advised school officials to steer the conversation away from whether students can refuse the PARCC tests and focus on the benefit of taking the exams. Regulators are also putting pressure on school boards and educators to adjust their discipline and attendance policies to discourage students from refusing to take them.
Adapting to changing curriculum, standards and legislation can be challenging for educators. During these times of transition, trial and error is part of the process, but it can also leave educators and the institutions they work for exposed to a number of liability risks. A broad spectrum of education liability insurance coverage is essential to help defend educational entities, educators and volunteers. At Professional Government Underwriters, our Education Management Insurance programs are tailored specifically to fit the needs of public, parochial and nonprofit private school entities including colleges, universities and vocational training schools. For more information about or offerings contact us today.