An increasing number of parents across the country are choosing to pull their children out testing for the federal Common Core standards occurring this week.
The movement is driven by parents who feel their children are spending too much classroom time on test preparation and are subject to an increasing amount of pressure to do well on the exams, which in turn causes too much emotional and physical stress on the students. Some teachers are in agreement with these parents and feel that excessive testing is not helping the students at all.
“I trust his educated and experienced teacher to monitor his growth and progress ALL year long, and I am insulted when his education is reduced to numbers on isolated tests not generated by his classroom teachers,” wrote Melissa Marini Švigelj-Smith, a parent and a teacher at Cleveland’s New Tech West High School, in her online blog.
Although the Ohio Department of Education is not currently keeping track of how many parents are opting out of the testing in the state, Avon Lake Superintendent Robert Scott reported 50 parents in his district refusing the exams. He said the number is typical for Lorain County, which is home to a number of parents who strongly oppose testing. He went on to say that the number of parents opting out was increasing each day.
Students who did not participate in the testing in a number of schools in New York were made to sit quietly during the testing, sometimes for as long as 70 minutes.
The movement in Ohio is supported by several teachers, including Dawn Neely-Randall, who said she would opt to not give the test to her students if she thought she could do it without losing her job.
“I do not want to send them into the lion’s den and be tested for six days of their life,” she said. “I don’t think I can go against my convictions.”
Another teacher at the same school, Stacie Starr, gained attention last week when she chose to resign due to the increased focus on testing occurring at her school.
There are currently no legal requirements in the state that say students must take the exam, nor is there a law prohibiting parents from opting out.
However, third graders must take the reading exam in order to go on to the next grade level, and high school students need to take a number of the tests to graduate.
Meanwhile, activists in Portland, Oregon are organizing a press conference in an effort to encourage parents to opt out of the Smarter Balanced standardized exams. This is the first year that all students throughout the state will take the exam for a score, although some students did participate in practice exams last year, writes Laura Frazier for The Oregonian.