Testing Opt-Outs Growing, Government Threatens Sanctions


Since the Common Core Standards were released in 2010 they have been a constant source of controversy… and don’t expect that to change anytime soon. While the standards have been officially adopted in 42 states, many people within those states remain resistant to them.

Common Core

In fact, in the last year an “opt-out” movement has begun rapidly growing around the country. Many parents are simply refusing to allow their children to take tests that they believe are being used in an improper manner to evaluate students and teachers. In New York alone, 20% of students opted out of the tests in 2015 – quadruple the number from the previous year – putting increased pressure on the government to take action.

In January 2016 the U.S. Education Department responded in term by warning states that they could be sanctioned if their public schools cannot get 95% of eligible students to take the tests for “accountability” purposes, adding more fuel to the debate fire.

On one side, education officials say that parents can’t pick and choose the exams their children take, and the tests are still important. On the other side, education activists say parents have the right to allow their children to refuse to take a test that they believe is poorly designed and whose scores are being misused. More importantly, activists say threats from the government or schools won’t stop them from opting-out, and the number of opt-outs around the nation should continue to grow in 2016. This likely will force the government’s hand to make good on their threats to pull funding from schools.

While it remains unclear how this will play out in the long-term, you shouldn’t expect any major changes to state’s standardized testing, despite growing resistance. There should be some clarity as to how committed the government is to fining states after the first round of testing in 2016.

Sources: Washington Post, Common Core, New York Times


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