ACLU of Rhode Island executive director Steven Brown has issued the following statement in response to the Senate’s passage of legislation imposing a three-year moratorium on the use of high stakes testing requirements as a condition of high school graduation:

“The ACLU is grateful for the Senate’s action today. Legislative intervention has become necessary because the state Board of Education has repeatedly refused to grapple with the valid criticisms that have been raised about its increasingly untenable high stakes test requirement. In fact, only two days ago, the Board once again rejected calls for public discussion of the issue.

“The futures of too many high school seniors are hanging in the balance on the basis of a completely arbitrary high stakes testing requirement and a just as arbitrary waiver process. We are hopeful that the House will now follow the Senate’s lead and take prompt action so that the anxiety and uncertainty plaguing all these students are put to rest.”

According to statistics released Monday by the Department of Education, with only a month to go before graduation, more than a quarter of all students with disabilities, more than a quarter of all English Language Learners, and almost one-sixth of all black and Hispanic seniors are at risk of not graduating as a result of the new diploma policy.