This year, huge numbers of kids “opted out” – in other words, refused to take the state standardized ELA and/or math test. According to Huffington Post, “Some superintendents in New York are reporting that 60 percent or even 70 percent of their students are refusing to sit for the exams”.
Business Insider reports parents are concerned about puzzling questions, exam accuracy, and children spending too much time taking tests, and as a result are “opting out” their child from taking the exams.
One mom, Bianca Tanis, has even started a public forum called NYS Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE) to discuss the issue and promote opting out. A visit to the NYSAPE website shows you how to refuse the NYS Common Core test in 4 easy steps. There’s even a video, that claims: “You’re not opting out – you’re refusing, and in doing so you’re advocating for your child’s best interests and exercising your constitutional rights as a parent to guide your child’s education.”
It all sounds good, but is “opting out” the right thing to do?
What is Common Core?
From the Common Core website:
“The Common Core is a set of high-quality academic standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA). These learning goals outline what a student should know and be able to do at the end of each grade. The standards were created to ensure that all students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and life, regardless of where they live.”
The Common Core is a state standards initiative developed by the National Governors Association and state education leaders in response to President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind program, which holds teachers, schools and districts accountable for their students’ academic progress. According to the Huffington Post, “The Obama administration has encouraged states to adopt Common Core standards through the federal grant program known as Race to the Top, and most have, but each state is free to develop its own tests.”
And it’s true that kids nowadays do take a lot more tests. According to a survey by the Council of the Great City Schools, students take an average of 113 standardized test from pre-K through grade 12, (only 17 are mandated by the federal government).