Here’s a short and sweet list on topic, and I hope others will suggest additional links.
I’ll be adding list to A Collection Of “The Best…” Lists On Parent Engagement.
Parent Jiggernaut Follow-Up: Opting out vs. Opting In is a thoughtful post by Rachel Levy.
Wary of standardized testing, parents are increasingly opting their kids out of exams is from The Washington Post.
“Parents sign petition against use of FCAT” is the headline of a Miami Herald article.
The article begins:
The petition, gaining traction in parts of Florida and around the country, urges education administrators to rely less on standardized tests and use other measures to evaluate students, schools and teachers.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Schools has instituted 52 new standardized tests, and parents are up in arms about it.
You can read about it in The Washington Post at School district field-tests 52 (yes, 52) new tests on kids.
You can also visit the website of the parents group organizing against them — Mecklenburg ACTS.
‘What we’ve got here is failure to communicate’ is an excellent post by Carol Burris in The Washington Post.
In it, she criticizes many who blame the fact that more and more parents are “opting out” of having their children take standardized tests solely on “communication” issues:
It is all seen as just a failure to communicate. And therein lies the problem. The focus on communication, rather than on a response to concerns, demonstrates a lack of faith in the ability of parents and teachers to understand what is occurring. Parents understand the high-stakes testing rationale. They just don’t buy it. The interpretation of grassroots parental opposition as a “communication failure” communicates arrogance. It is the ultimate “nanny state” response—you do not understand what we know, and what we know and do are best for you.
Turn On, Tune In, Opt Out is an article in The Nation about the growing popularity of efforts by parents to have their children “opt-out” of taking standardized tests.
Chicago Teachers Union urges parents to oppose standardized tests for young kids is an article in the Chicago Sun-Times about a teacher/parent campaign against the pressure of standardized tests:
When Parents Yank Their Kids Out of Standardized Tests is an article in the Atlantic, by Alexander Russo, that gives a good overview of the “opt-out” movement.
The Defiant Parents: Testing’s Discontents is an excellent piece in The New Yorker.
Here’s an excerpt:
Parents who complain about testing—particularly affluent, educated ones—are easily derided, as they were by Arne Duncan, President Obama’s Education Secretary, a few months ago, when he described critics of the Common Core as “white suburban moms who—all of a sudden—[find] their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were.” But parents who challenge the status quo on testing are not motivated by a deluded pride in their children’s unrecognized accomplishments, or by a fear that their property values will diminish if their schools’ scores’ drop. They are, in many cases, driven by a conviction that a child’s performance on a standardized test is an inadequate, unreliable measure of that child’s knowledge, intelligence, aptitude, diligence, and character—and a still more unreliable measure of his teachers’ effort, skill, perseverance, competence, and kindness.
Most States Lack Opt-Out Policies – But Parents Find A Way is a very interesting and useful post by Alexander Russo.
The post gives a very good overview of state laws on “opting out” of standardized tests.
It appears that some schools are making it very difficult for parents to “opt-out” of standardized testing for their child. I’m not sure if this attitude is the best one to take to further parent engagement….
Standing Up to Testing is a New York Times article on parents opting their students out of standardized testing in New York City.
Here’s an excerpt:
This movement of refusal does not evolve out of antipathy toward rigor and seriousness, as critics enjoy suggesting, but rather out of advocacy for more comprehensive forms of assessment and a depth of intellectual experience that test-driven pedagogy rarely allows. In the past year, the movement has grown considerably among parents and educators, across political classifications and demographics.
Here’s an excerpt from Valerie Strauss’ piece at The Washington Post:
The editorial board of a big-city newspaper, the Philadelphia Inquirer, has gone on record as not only supporting the right of parents to have their children opt out of high-stakes standardized tests but also saying they are “right to protest” in this manner.
“Parents have few, if any venues to express their concerns”
The above quotation is from Jose Luis Vilson, who contributed to the New York Times “Room For Debate” forum on Should Parents Opt Out of Testing?
Check out his full contribution and comments from others.
The Middle Ground Between Opt Out And All In is a very thoughtful post by Matthew Di Carlo at The Shanker Blog.
Thanks to Bill Ferriter, I’ve learned about a Georgia school district who had a police officer tell parents who were opting out of state tests that they would and their children would be trespassing if they were on school grounds during the testing and then threatened to ban their kids from a field trip because of their actions.
And there’s a lot more.
Here’s an excerpt:
when it comes to “opting out,” what’s important to me is the idea that you don’t have to agree with its proponents’ solution to acknowledge that they may be correct about the existence of a problem. There are good and bad policy applications happening right now, and it’s important to address the bad ones and build on the good ones.
States Listen as Parents Give Rampant Testing an F is an important New York Times article focusing on parent resistance to standardized testing, particularly in Florida:
which tests students more frequently than most other states, many schools this year will dedicate on average 60 to 80 days out of the 180-day school year to standardized testing. In a few districts, tests were scheduled to be given every day to at least some students.
Want your kids to opt out of standardized tests? The Constitution may be with you. is the headline of a useful Washington Post article.
As Common Core Testing Is Ushered In, Parents and Students Opt Out is an article in The New York Times.
Here’s an excerpt:
A new wave of standardized exams, designed to assess whether students are learning in step with the Common Core standards, is sweeping the country, arriving in classrooms and entering the cross hairs of various political movements. In New Jersey and elsewhere, the arrival has been marked with well-organized opposition, a spate of television attack ads and a cascade of parental anxiety.
Almost every state has an “opt out” movement. While its true size is hard to gauge, the protests on Facebook, at school board meetings and in more creative venues — including screenings of anti-testing documentaries — have caught the attention of education officials.
The Washington Post has published an article headlined Some parents across the country are revolting against standardized testing.
Here’s how it begins:
A growing number of parents are refusing to let their children take standardized tests this year, arguing that civil disobedience is the best way to change what they say is a destructive overemphasis on tests in the nation’s public schools.
Thousands of Kids Opt Out of Standardized Common Core Tests Across U.S. is the headline for an article in TIME.
Here’s how it begins:
Thousands of students are opting out of new standardized tests aligned to the Common Core standards, defying the latest attempt by states to improve academic performance.
This “opt-out” movement remains scattered but is growing fast in some parts of the country. Some superintendents in New York are reporting that 60 percent or even 70 percent of their students are refusing to sit for the exams. Some lawmakers, sensing a tipping point, are backing the parents and teachers who complain about standardized testing.