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Common Core: Schools Across the U.S. Are Navigating Anti-Testing Initiatives

Common Core: Schools Across the U.S. Are Navigating Anti-Testing Initiatives

Parents and students in several states have opted out of standardized testing connected to the Common Core State Standards, and are working to navigate anti-testing initiatives while also complying to testing mandates.

These states, including New Jersey, New York and Colorado "has an 'opt out' movement," according to an article on NYTimes.com.

"Its true size is hard to gauge, but 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 article said. "Some school superintendents have bemoaned the exams, while others have warned that they were obligatory. And even parents who share in the antipathy toward the tests are torn by the implications of formally allowing their children to bow out of them."

According to the article, "Colorado’s Board of Education voted in January to allow school districts to skip portions of the state tests, only to be told by the state’s attorney general that it did not have that authority."

In Sparta, N.J., at a testing information session for parents, assistant superintendent "repeatedly said" 'I’m not here to fight with you. I am here to give information on the mandate,'" the article said.

The Common Core standards, a set of challenging learning goals designed to better prepare students for college, were developed by a coalition of states. But they became closely tied to President Obama in the public mind as his administration offered money to states that adopted the standards, which conservatives portrayed as a stealth federal takeover of schools. Tests that gauge how well students are learning the new material have become part of the way many states evaluate their teachers. This makes the tests a target for teachers’ unions, a bulwark of the left.

According to the article, "so the new batch of tests in New Jersey, created by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, is faced with an unusually diverse list of enemies."

"There are forces united against it on the left side of the aisle and the right of the aisle,” said James Crisfield, a former superintendent of the school district in Millburn, N.J., in the article. “We’re also talking about things that are happening to one’s child. You mix that all up into a caldron and it does create some really high levels of interest, high levels of passion — and, shall we say, enthusiasm.”

Read the full story and comment below.

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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