Just Say No to the Test
“Opting out” of testing is a potentially powerful way to resist No Child Left Behind and the way standardized testing distorts and corrupts K-12 classrooms. Growing numbers of parents and students are questioning the value of NCLB testing and saying they want to exercise the right to opt out.
In recent months, a number of Facebook and wiki pages, as well as a web site, have been created to nurture a national campaign to opt out of NCLB and state testing. Below are the names and links to the sites along with descriptions of each site by their creators. Visit them and spread the word to fellow parents and students.
In addition, FairTest has materials relevant to opt out efforts. These include an explanation of relevant federal policies, as well as fact sheets on tests, the consequences of high-stakes testing, and better ways to assess and evaluate students.
Opt-Out Pages on Facebook
- OPT OUT OF THE STATE TEST : The National Movement: Members of this site are parents, educators, and social activists who are dedicated to the elimination of high stakes testing in public education. We use this site to collaborate, exchange ideas, support one another, share information and initiate collective local and national actions to end the reign of fear and terror promoted by the high stakes testing agenda.
- Parents & Kids Against Standardized Testing: This page was created to inform parents, kids, and other interested community members about the overreliance on standardized testing to make high stakes decisions in education. It includes posts and links to information on opting out.
- FairTest also has a Facebook page with news and information relevant to opting out.
- United Opt Out National: Members of this site are parents, educators, students and social activists who are dedicated to the elimination of high stakes testing in public education. We use this site to collaborate, exchange ideas, support one another, share information and initiate collective local and national actions to end the reign of fear and terror promoted by the high stakes testing agenda.
- Opt Out of Standardized Tests: The International Movement: This site was created to collect and share information on state by state rules and experiences related to opting out of standardized tests. This is an open community for any parent, student, or educator interested in finding or sharing opt out information, irrespective of personal decisions regarding political party, religion, or learning choice.
- The Bartleby Project: The Bartleby Project begins by inviting 60,000,000 American students, one by one, to peacefully refuse to take standardized tests or to participate in any preparation for these tests; it asks them to act because adults chained to institutions and corporations are unable to; because these tests pervert education, are disgracefully inaccurate, impose brutal stresses without reason, and actively encourage a class system which is poisoning the future of this nation.
- This detailed presentation from Pennsylvania provides useful information for thinking about opting out.
- Seattle High School teachers boycott test.
- Support the Seattle teachers' test boycott by signing petition, sending letters, liking them on Facebook. It's important.
Related Web Sites
- Parents Across America: A non-partisan, non-profit grassroots organization that connects parents and activists from across the U.S. to share ideas and work together on improving our nation’s public schools. PAA is committed to bringing the voice of public school par¬ents – and common sense – to local, state, and national education debates. PAA has a related Facebook page, Parents Across America Say: Put the Parent Voice Back in Public Schools!
- Save Our Schools: A grassroots movement dedicated to restoring educator, parent, student, and community influence over education policy and practice. We are a varied group of people with different perspectives, experiences, and views on education. But we agree that those who know the most about education, our schools, and our communities—the educators, students, families and communities in and around them—should be the ones to have the most influence over education policy and practice.
Federal Law on Opting Out
Parents and students considering opting out of tests should understand relevant federal law and regulations.
- NCLB requires schools to test at least 95% of students each year. Not doing so is just one of many ways to fail. If a school is not making Adequate Yearly Progress for other reasons, the 95% participation mandate may not be a priority.
- If a school fails to make AYP for two years, a portion of federal Title I funds must be spent on transportation to enable students to attend another school that is making AYP, if such a school exists. After three years of not making AYP, funds must go to tutoring. In other words, opting out has an indirect effect on federal funding.
- For a more detailed explanation of federal law on opting out, click here.
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