Dear Dr. LaSusa and Board Members,

I have two sons in the Chatham School District (8th and 9th grade) and I am very concerned with the latest developments surrounding the PARCC assessments.

This past April 6th the NJ State Board of Education took the second of five steps required to make New Jersey only the second state in the nation to require students to take and pass PARCC exams for which they are eligible, in order to graduate.

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The proposed regulations say that, starting in 2017, "students graduating in 2020 must take all eligible end-of-course PARCC assessments for courses in which they are enrolled, before they can access a substitute competency test, another end-of-course PARCC assessment, or through the portfolio appeals process."

Also, for the classes of 2021 and beyond, as proposed, students will no longer be able to substitute SATs, ACTs, APs, etc., for the English 10 and Algebra 1 exams. Only after students take PARCC, will they be allowed to demonstrate proficiency in English language arts and mathematics through the portfolio appeals process. Here is a link to the specific language of the proposed regulations. It is Item E.  The State BOE will be holding an open public comment session on Wednesday, May 4 at 2 p.m

My intention in writing this letter is to bring to your attention that eight school district Boards of Education have expressed their concerns about the proposed changes to graduation requirements by passing resolutions opposing making passing PARCC a requirement for graduation. These districts are: Highland Park, Hopewell Valley, Bloomfield, Clifton, Paterson, East Windsor, Washington Township (Gloucester) and Middlesex Regional Educational Services. You can find copies of the resolutions here:

It is my sincere hope that the School District of the Chathams Board of Education considers adopting a similar resolution.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this.


Deborah Barnes

Editor's note: TAP into Chatham has published the letter with permission of the author