- Associated Press - Monday, June 30, 2014

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey lawmakers postponed a vote Monday on delaying the use of new standardized tests as part of evaluations for teachers and principals in hopes that Gov. Chris Christie would take similar executive action instead.

Lawmakers still want to go ahead with the use next school year of the new standardized tests developed by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, which are intended to measure how well students are learning the national common core curriculum.

They just don’t want to use them to judge teachers yet.

The new tests come just as the state is implementing a teacher evaluation system that relies partly on measures of student performance, including how much students improve on standardized tests.

Proponents say linking the tests to whether teachers get or keep tenure is a way to make educators accountable.

State Sen. Jeff Van Drew, a Democrat and sponsor of the bill to delay implementation, said he wants to make sure the test does what it is supposed to do before attaching consequences to it.

He said he also shares at least partly two other concerns of critics. Some say they don’t want a national school curriculum and some object to linking teacher evaluations to students’ test results.

His bill would set up a task force to study testing and delay linking scores to evaluations for at least two years.

An identical bill already passed the Assembly overwhelmingly.

But Van Drew said Christie is likely to veto it if it passes and instead wants to implement an executive order that would link a smaller percentage of each teacher’s evaluation to the score.

Van Drew said the governor’s office is worried that following the Legislature’s plan could jeopardize some federal education funding.

A Christie spokesman asked about the issue on Monday did not comment.

Van Drew said the Senate could take up the bill on July 10 if the governor does not take action by then.

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