RI ACLU Executive Director Steven Brown: “The latest statistics should serve as wake-up call to all parents and policy-makers.  Rhode Island is on the verge of creating a huge and permanent underclass of teenagers based solely on the arbitrary scores of a standardized test that national studies show serves no meaningful purpose when used for high stakes purposes.”

Anne Mulready, Staff Attorney, Rhode Island Disability Law Center: “The numbers show that an unacceptably high number of students with disabilities are at risk of not graduating based on 2011 NECAP scores. Worse still, that number has increased since last year. A system that so disadvantages students with IEPs is clearly inconsistent with the inclusion goals of our civil rights laws.”

Veronika Kot, Staff Attorney, Rhode Island Legal Services: “All students deserve the opportunity to excel. But high expectations are not furthered by unnecessary barriers to graduation. They can only become a reality through the supports and interventions that assist struggling children and youth with overcoming their barriers to learning. That such supports are not yet in place is all too clearly illustrated by current data.”

Brother Michael Reis, CEO, Tides Family Services: “Poverty does significant damage to children’s physical, social, and emotional well-being and directly impacts school behavior and school performance. To continue a system of high stress testing that produce significantly disproportionate numbers of at-risk youngsters who have little or no chance of achieving graduation standards and a high school diploma is unconscionable.”