Parent group asks for option to opt kids out of testing

By Hugh McQuaid

HARTFORD, Conn. – A group of parents and educators want the legislature to pass a bill ensuring that parents of school children have the option of pulling their kids out of required standardized testing.

Advocates calling themselves the Parent-Teacher Save Our Schools Alliance held a press conference Thursday and called upon lawmakers to pass legislation to enable parents to opt their children out of statewide standardized tests.

Terry Dickinson, an East Haddam mother, said she has pulled her son, Charles, from the town’s public school and enrolled him in a private school because of difficulties opting him out of the tests.

“Charles is a 16-year-old boy with a dream and goals for his future. He is not a test score,” she said. “For the first time in a year, he is happy now. He has teachers who are engaged. He doesn’t have to fill in bubbles anymore.”

See the complete story at CT News Junkie.


9 responses to “Parent group asks for option to opt kids out of testing”

  1. John Levin

    This makes me sad on many levels. How can students be evaluated effectively and compared across school districts, demographic groups, and across time without using a standardized test? What’s wrong with a student being tested for things like basic reading comprehension and arithmetic skills? What’s wrong with reading a short passage and answering multiple choice questions about it? If students are not learning to understand what they read or to use math to solve problems, then parents, teachers, school administrators, citizens and tax payers deserve to know, and to demand improvements or at least further evaluation and study. Taking a standardized test for part of one day in the school year does not seem like a lot to ask for.

    Are the parents who wish to have their children not take standardized tests the same parents who want their children enrolled in public schools but not to be vaccinated? Or who want their kids to leave the classroom when evolution is taught? Yikes. Maybe the parents need to be tested?

  2. David

    Why would this be a good thing? Don’t get me wrong, I understand the concerns some people have regarding the rollout of CC throughout Connecticut – many towns and cities were not nearly as pro-active as Norwalk. Removing children from the testing process will not help them in the short or long term. The adaptive testing process in CC breaks down the subjects into component competencies (I believe there are nine in math) and allows analysis of each. Not testing means that you can’t analyze where a child’s strengths and weakness’ are. That just doesn’t make sense.

  3. the donut hole

    Standardization and a centralized approach will NEVER work. Individuals are not transistors that can conform to some ANSI codification. What’s the point of paying grade school teachers six figures if they are not competent enough to assess which children need help and which need more challenging? These tests and teams of people and bureaucrats who don’t actually teach children anything are what is wrong with education today. Spending billions upon billions for self serving paper pushers. Time to get back to basics and let communities decide how to educate their children instead of the Kremlin.

  4. Currently, the teachers in Norwalk public schools take about one month prior to the actual tests and teach the test to the students. This is taking “real” learning out of the classroom only to be replaced with assurance that the schools will look “good” when the test results are released. How long before the teachers know how to teach the CCC tests and are doing the same thing.
    My children are both in private schools and are really flourishing with the freedom to really learn about both core/enrichment courses instead of being taught “how to take the state test” and make the teachers look like they are really educating the kids….
    But knowing that not all parents can do this. The only option is to measure them by taking standardized tests, however useful or not they may be at really evaluating a child.

  5. The CCC tests, being computer-adaptive, can’t be ‘taught to’ like CMTs. The computers probe students’ knowledge interactively, and since the Common Core actually requires teaching solid factual knowledge in the respective subject areas, the only way to ‘teach to the test’ will be to effectively teach the content knowledge — which is what we WANT taught.

    My three kids all went through the Norwalk public schools and are thriving. Two are college graduates (GWU and Johns Hopkins), one is a Navy pilot, the other admitted to Tufts Veterinary School (my third is a senior at Norwalk High School). Even the relatively ineffective standardized tests used now didn’t “take the learning out of the classroom” for them, and the far better SBAC tests won’t do that for other kids either.

  6. David

    @donut hole/Irish girl:
    Just a point of clarification, CC is not using standardized tests, it is using adaptive testing. Donut hole, I’m not really sure I get your comments, why doesn’t a teacher identify where a student is struggling? One of the purported problems with “business as usual” schooling is that teachers didn’t confront children’s learning problems, they just passed them along from one grade to the next, until it was too late to do anything. This stops that from happening. Each child will not be given the same test, the test is adaptive, you can’t “teach to the test” like you would have done in the past. Teachers actually need to teach fundamentals and concepts. All of the problems that you two so rightly identify, have remedies in this system.
    Back to these “advocates” – if you remove children from this new form of testing, then you are removing them from a system that is designed to identify areas a child is struggling with and allow for remediation. That just leaves parents further in the dark.

  7. the donut hole

    David, I can get on board with the adaptive testing. But, as you imply…teacher accountability is a key component. Perhaps teacher licensing should have professional education requirements beyond the Masters degree as are mandated by so many other professions. They could complete these in the summer or at nights during the school year. Nothing draconian, but like 30 or 40 hours a year.

  8. srb

    If the test is credible and reliable there’s nothing wrong w/teaching the test. Tests can provide clear parameters to teachers and help guide them as well as help students develop an understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. No course should teach only to the test and no course beyond 7 or 8 yrs old should be completely experiential. For some students the testing is wasteful since its simply to show they’ve met some minimal standard and they are leaps and bounds beyond that…for them its simply time consuming.

  9. @david,
    thanks for some more info~

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