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Another Affluent District Sees High Opt-Outs

Another Affluent District Sees High Opt-Outs

In an affluent district in Los Angeles County, California, more than half of its high school juniors have opted out of the Smarter Balanced Assessments.

Though California has yet to release its opt-out numbers and has claimed them so far to be insignificant, the California Department of Education is calling Palos Verdes Unified District's opt-outs the highest number its heard so far, according to EdSource.org.

Palos Verdes High School, where 260 of the school's 460 juniors are opting out, certainly defines affluence. "On the Palos Verdes peninsula, the district sits along the ocean, with average home prices of $1.5 million, and enrolls just 3 percent of students qualifying for free and reduced-price lunch," according to the article.

The New York Post and other New York publications have released data indicating that the majority of opt-outs come from affluent schools and districts. The data is especially meaningful in New York, where an estimated 60-70 percent of students have opted to not take state administered exams.

Parents in the district claim the reason they stand behind their child's decision to opt-out has a lot to do with concerns about the privacy of data "being collected electronically through tests."

One parent, Kimberly Ramsay, said simply, "There really is no good reason to take the test," according to the article.

Indeed, tests or not, the districts claims that 98 percent of its graduates enroll in college and "some parents and students are questioning the relevance of taking a test they don’t see as related to achieving that goal."

Palos Verdes symbolizes another reason why affluent districts are more likely to opt-out before low-income ones: financial funding doesn't matter.

When it comes to losing funding for not meeting the 95% quota from No Child Left Behind, "[o]nly schools that receive money for low-income students, called Title 1 funds, might be affected. Palos Verdes is not one of those schools."

Read the full story here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

04/29/2015

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