Wednesday, March 16, 2016

My child is doing fine, why should we opt out?

There are many students who are doing well in school and their families see no need to protest high-stakes testing or the Common Core Standards.

"My child is getting good grades and loves school" certainly can apply to many children in our public schools, but that does not mean your child is free from being impacted by the pressure to raise scores on the state assessments.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • Does your child's elementary school focus primarily on the tested subjects of ELA and math?  Are science, history, art, music, physical education, recess and free play reduced or eliminated?  Many elementary schools have double blocks of ELA and math daily while ignoring a well-rounded education.
  • Does your child's classroom focus on skills, worksheets and content that is a preparation for taking standardized tests?  Does this test-prep limit your child's exposure to critical thinking or creativity?  Is your child engaged in fun projects and activities or buried in worksheets and seat-work?
So, while your child could be doing fine academically and be happy in school, could your child's educational opportunities be limited because of the focus on raising test scores?  

How do we fight the pressure to increase test scores that often conflicts with the education our children deserve?  The primary vehicle to raise our collective voices is to refuse or opt out from the state assessments.  The massive opt out movement has made major headlines and is beginning to influence education policy.  If the momentum of the test resistance movement increases, positive change can occur that will help all students receive the well-rounded education they deserve.