Board to Vote on Opt-Out Resolution
The Red Clay Board of Education will vote next month on a resolution supporting a parent’s right to opt-out of standardized testing, to be introduced by school board member Adriana Bohm. Board President Kenneth Rivera said he supports such a move.
Parents opting their children out of state standardized testing has been a controversial topic nationwide, and several Delaware school districts have passed resolutions supporting a parent’s right to have their children skip the test.
In a presentation to the board, district supervisor of research, evaluation and professional learning Gerri Marshall gave information on the new state test system known as DeSSA which will include a new English Language Arts and Math test called “Smarter,” current DCAS tests for Science and Social Studies, and the state’s alternative test for students with severe disabilities. It also includes SAT, PSAT, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), and testing for English Language Learners.
Marshall outlined the district’s procedure for a parent refusal to test their child, which starts with the parent contacting their school principal. Dr. Marshall also laid out the case for students to take the state test, including federal and state law, impacts on school ratings and potential funding implications. She emphasized that testing this year sets the foundation for looking at student growth next year. The presentation can be found here.
According to the Delaware Department of Education, Red Clay has no discretion in the matter. Federal and state laws require that public-school students be tested. TheElementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), which was amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, requires all states to implement “high-quality, yearly student academic assessments.”
Bohm wrote a statement in support of the opt-out movement, citing six major reasons, including a belief that testing has become a huge business for corporations, that tests have not eliminated the achievement gap, do not provide useful data to teachers during the school year, and that teaching for content is diminished by too many tests given to students.
Despite federal student testing requirements there isn’t any federal or state law prohibiting parents from opting-out their children on federally or state mandated testing.
Though the board might not be in the position to give it’s full blessing on the opt-out but it can word the resolution in a way as not to penalizes parents or students who refuse to participate in the Smarter Balanced Assessment whereas, there are no specific federal or state laws prohibiting testing opt-out. The Smarter Balanced Assessment has no impact on students grades or promotion or retention. Some say, “what’s if parents want opt-out their child on final exams or mid-terms. Those test have a direct impact on students grades, promotion and retention. So in that respect the natural consequences would apply.
I urge the board to support a resolution permitting parents to opt-out their child on “The Smarter Balanced Assessment”. For those board members who plan on voting no, I ask they provided “legal” documentation “specifically” prohibiting “opting-out” of federal or state mandated assessment test.
I also urge the Delaware PTA to address the Red Clay School Board and offer support to parents who prefer not the have their children participating in the Smarter Balanced Assessment.