Colorado Teacher Refuses to Give Common-Core Tests

By Catherine Gewertz — September 22, 2014 1 min read
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A Colorado teacher has announced that she will not give her state-mandated test—the PARCC assessment—this spring because testing and test-preparation now consume too much of her teaching time.

“I have watched the testing increase over my 18 years of teaching in the public schools,” Peggy Robertson, an elementary-level literacy coach in the Aurora school district, wrote in a blog post on Sunday. “I have watched what it has done to my ability to meet children’s needs and to allow children the opportunities to engage in learning that is authentic—learning that furthers the purpose of these children’s lives.

“This year, in particular, I am watching an onslaught of common-core curriculum infiltrate our schools, along with additional tests and test prep to add to the test load which permeates every minute of every school day.”

Robertson, a co-founder of United Opt-Out, whose members oppose standardized, high-stakes testing, said in her blog post that she objects to the implementation of the Common Core State Standards because they were never field-tested, and were created with little input from classroom teachers. She also attacked the standards for setting unrealistically high academic expectations for the youngest students, and the tests for funneling millions of dollars to test publishing companies at children’s expense.

Using Facebook, Colorado parents have organized their own wave of opt-outs, with students refusing to take state tests. And nationally, opposition to state-mandated testing has been on the rise. Last week, Florida halted its online reading test for K-2 students. Teachers had criticized the test for taking up too much of their classroom time and claimed that it wasn’t appropriate for young children. A Gainesville teacher had also publicly proclaimed her refusal to administer the test to her students. The only reason Florida officials cited in suspending it, however, was the technological problems it had encountered.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.