Teaching Profession

NEA Affiliates Take Steps to Support ‘Opt Out’ Movement

By Stephen Sawchuk — June 29, 2015 1 min read
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Over the last six months or so, quite a few of the National Education Association’s state affiliates have passed motions supporting, to various degrees, the right of parents to excuse their children from taking state tests.

The state chapters in Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin, have all passed statements along these lines. (Have I missed any, readers?)

All this has me wondering if we’ll see a spate of action on opt-out at this year’s NEA Representative Assembly, which begins in earnest July 3 in Orlando. The union is clearly aligned with the goals of the opt-out movement. It has called for an end to “toxic testing,” and its website has a treasure trove of resources, including templates for school boards to use to support opting out.

For two years running, delegates to the union’s convention have passed new business items directing the union to support parents’ rights to opt out or to provide links about how to do so. But opt-out is not actually part of the union’s policy resolutions, and the national body has disappointed some opt-out advocates by stopping short of saying it would throw blanket support behind teachers who didn’t want to give state exams.

I’ll be curious to see how this unfolds. I’ll be at the convention later this week, and this is one of the stories I’ll be keeping my eye on.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.