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Opt-out bill passes Senate, heads to Gov. Markell

Delaware Public Media

After weeks of ping ponging back and forth between the Delaware House and Senate, a bill allowing parents to opt their children out of any state or district mandate school test is headed to the governor’s desk.


State senators Thursday gave what may be final approval to the legislation.


Gov. Jack Markell has openly opposed the proposal, but did not immediately respond to questions as to whether or not he’ll veto it. Both chambers passed the bill with enough support to override one.


“Pure and simple, this is a parents’ rights bill and we’ve tested our kids enough. Until we get a handle on this, I think they have the right to have this bill,” said one of the bill's primary sponsors, Sen. Dave Lawson (R-Marydel).


Originally, the legislation would’ve only targeted the Smarter Balanced Assessment based on the Common Core standards.


Tuesday, House lawmakers stripped one amendment that would’ve allowed 11th graders to opt themselves out without parental permission.


The sponsor of that amendment, Sen. Bryan Townsend (D-Newark), didn’t reintroduce the measure, but says it’s something lawmakers should’ve considered.


“I think it’s interesting that we believe high school juniors should be able to drive on our roads and hunt with firearms and be on the brink of signing up to join our military, but they’re not mature enough to decide if a test that has no bearing on their grade is something they should take,” said Townsend.


If Markell doesn’t veto the bill, it can still become law without his signature after ten days.

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