Thursday, October 6, 2011

NUT Report: Portland Maine parents to opt-out

Bangor Daily News reports parent requests to opt-out of high stakes standardized testing. Maine education officials say that every year a small group of parents request opting out of mandated high stakes assessment, but find no increased trend district-wide. Officials recognize parent concern regarding the amount of time test prep and testing is taking out of instructional time and note more conversation among parents on how to opt-out.

"Maine Department of Education spokesman David Connerty-Marin also noted the danger too many opt-outs present for schools in terms of complying with federal laws, but said school officials cannot compel parents to put their kids in the testing rooms."

“Every year we get a small number of folks who decide to [opt out], and we move on,” he said. “We can’t force students to take standardized tests. There’s no real ‘opt out’ provision in the law, but there’s also nothing that forces students to take the tests. Just like if there’s a parent that doesn’t want their child dissecting a frog in science class, we can’t force them to, or if there’s a parent that doesn’t want their child going on a particular field trip, we can’t force them to.”

Robert Schaeffer, public education director for the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, sees a national trend developing this year as more parents realize that there will be no testing relief through the reauthorization of NCLB and as parents "learn their rights and go public with their complaints."

“There has been, just this year, a resurgence in interest in opting out of tests,” he said. “Earlier this decade, we saw small movements [in certain places], but this year, as frustration has grown with the damage that NCLB and state testing requirements have done, more and more parents have looked into opting out, and more have taken advantage of it.”

On Saturday, October 8 at 10AM, South Carolina parents will protest punitive high stakes assessment on the S.C. State House steps. Unlike Maine, South Carolina education officials second-guess medical input to force testing in spite of parent request to opt-out for their students with complex medical conditions. Instead of helping, South Carolina's policies protect the testing and not the students.

Some resources for opting out information:

Some resources on Facebook:
Parents and Kids Against Standardized Testing
OPT-OUT of the State Test: A National Movement
Testing is Not Teaching! PBC citizens united to make a difference.
Parents Across America

No comments:

Post a Comment