Education Letter to the Editor

Letting Your Kids Opt Out of Tests Is Not How to Solve the Problem

October 13, 2015 1 min read

To the Editor:

A word to parents: Believe it or not, allowing your child to opt out of state-mandated standardized testing won’t help address the issue. In fact, it’s just plain bad manners.

As a former teacher, I would be the first to endorse the idea that standardized testing is a waste of money and time. But the answer to the problem is not to jeopardize a child’s future educational résumé by telling him or her not to take a test.

Depending on the school district, some systems impose consequences for students who choose to opt out. For example, in North Carolina, students who have chosen to opt out will still have their tests graded as if they had taken them. Other schools may record the action as a behavioral refusal tantamount to insubordination.

Standardized tests are unpopular, but the way to foster change is not just saying no. The way to create change is to work within the system. So run for office in your district. Get on the school board. Do something about it besides being obstinate and telling kids to say no to testing.

Real change starts with relationships and attitude.

Lauren E. Owen

Somerville, Mass.

A version of this article appeared in the October 14, 2015 edition of Education Week as Letting Your Kids Opt Out of Tests Is Not How to Solve the Problem