Dissatisfaction with standardized testing is growing in all quarters, and even The New York Times has now recognized that parents choosing to opt their children out of standardized tests come from a variety of backgrounds. An article in the Sunday Review highlights some of the concerns about standardized tests raised by minority parents, students, and educators.
All too often testing narrows the curriculum—particularly for students attending high-poverty, urban schools who are already likely to experience an opportunity gap compared with their wealthier peers. Read more
A room full of parents, students, educators, and community members listened to a panel at Trinity College discuss problems with SBAC and test prep in urban public schools.
Although much of the media coverage surrounding parents opting their children out of state tests has focused on white, suburban parents, these families are not alone in taking a stand against tests they see as having no value for their children or schools.
At a panel discussion last week at Trinity College, Black and Latino parents shared their own stories of opting their children out of SBAC and talked about the lost instructional time and excessive test prep students and schools are facing.
CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg.
CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg today urged legislators not to surrender their authority to a state agency—the state Department of Education. Testifying before the legislature’s Education Committee, Waxenberg said that provisions in Senate Bill 175 concerning parents’ right to opt their children out of state testing and the implementation of a school accountability system represent problematic overreaches by the department.
Section 3 of the bill punishes districts with higher percentages of parents who choose to opt their children out of the state-wide mastery test. Waxenberg said that this state Department of Education (SDE) provision is one of a number of parental opt-out penalties that are being implemented by the SDE without any legislative consideration.
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) gives authority to states to develop their own parental opt-out policies. The new federal education law permits states to define student testing participation rates to avoid penalizing districts for the choices of parents to exclude their children from statewide (e.g. SBAC) testing.
“The actions of the state Department of Education represent an overreach of agency authority and a usurpation of decisions about parental rights that should be debated by this committee and the state legislature as a whole,” Waxenberg said. Read more
The State Department of Education is reporting “greater numbers of parents desiring to remove their child(ren) from participation in the statewide testing program.” In response, the department’s Academic Office has issued these suggested protocols and sample letter for districts’ use as part of its December Newsletter.