Diegnan Bill to Better Inform Parents about Vendors Hired to Work on State Assessments Clears Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan to make information about vendors hired by the state for state assessment-related work, including the monitoring of student social media accounts, more accessible to the public, was released Thursday by an Assembly panel.

The bill was released by the Assembly Education Committee chaired by Diegnan.

“There have been numerous questions and concerns raised by educators as well as parents about the validity, security and cost of state assessments,” said Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “When it was revealed that students’ social media pages were being monitored during PARCC testing, for example, parents were rightfully worried about strangers perusing their children’s social media accounts.”

“Given that many parents continue to be skeptical about standardized tests, it would be wise to keep parents in the loop about who the state is hiring to do this work,” added Diegnan. “Making this information easily accessible through the Department of Education website would add transparency to the process, and ensure that parents know who to hold accountable if something goes awry.”

The bill (A-4925) requires the Department of Education to provide a link on its website to the Department of the Treasury’s website, where there is a list of all contractors, subcontractors, advisors, or consultants employed or retained by the Department of the Treasury for any work associated with the administration, evaluation, grading, or ongoing development of state assessments, as well as the monitoring of social media while the assessments are being administered for security breaches.

“As a parent, my first thought would be to go to the DOE website to look for this type of information, not the department of treasury’s website,” said Diegnan. “This takes out the guess work, and ensures parents get the information they are looking for in an efficient manner.”

The bill would take effect immediately.