State Roundup: Standardized test opt out measure passes

From Illinois News Network

A measure to allow parents or guardians to opt their children out of standardized tests at public schools got the green light from the Illinois House.

Current state law allows for the students to opt themselves from the tests but parents complained that was unfair for some developmentally disabled students. Democratic Representative Will Guzzardi, who sponsored the change, says the current law creates a very problematic situation.

“We’re asking 3rd graders to show up and say “no” to their teacher. Not to mention we have older students that have found out about this phenomenon on the Internet and they’re going in and opting out without even speaking to their parents.”

Guzzardi went on to explain another problem with students opting out of the lengthy tests.

“And then for the ten hours of PAARC testing, ten hours, in many districts that child is not allowed to do anything.”

The bill allows for parents or guardians to opt their children out of the test and requires schools to give the student another assignment while the test is being administered.

Opponents of the measure fear if there aren’t enough children taking the tests there could be a loss of federal funding for education.

The measure now heads to the Senate. Governor Bruce Rauner has expressed concerns about the PAARC standardized test, saying he’s worried it’s political and not about generating results.

Right to Try Act unanimously passes Senate

Terminally ill patients wanting to try experimental drugs could get their chance soon with a measure awaiting the Governor’s signature. The so-called Right to Try Act passed the Illinois Senate unanimously Tuesday after passing the House last month.

The measure allows for qualified terminally-ill patients to access medicines and treatments that haven’t received full FDA approval. Supporters say the measure will allow citizens afflicted with HIV, ALS, cancer and a litany of other serious conditions to access the experimental treatments.

The measure as introduced also prohibits the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation from taking any disciplinary action against a physician based solely on their recommendation that an eligible patient try experimental treatments.

The Governor has 60 days to sign the measure once it arrives on his desk.

Companies honored by U.S. Commerce Department

Four Illinois companies are being honored by the U.S. Commerce Secretary. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity says Garrett Popcorn, Sumac, MB Financial and Governor State University’s SDBC International Trade Center have received the “E” Award from Penny Pritzer, the U.S. Commerce Secretary.

Garret Popcorn and Sumac are international consulting, construction and professional services firms out of Chicago. They received the award for sustaining increased exports over a four-year period.

MB Financial and SDBC International Trade were recognized for their efforts in assisting increased trade. DCEO says all four organizations have worked with the state agency in improving the companies’ global competitiveness.

The President’s “E” Award went out to 45 companies total across the country.

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