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Volume 28, Number 5
September/October 2012

Opt-Out Movement Gains Steam


The Coalition for Better Education is using billboards to encourage parents to opt-out of the Colorado state test, called the TCAP.

The forces opposed to high-stakes assessment tests have their Montgomery, and it’s Snohomish.

When more than 550 sets of parents—about one out of 10—in this small town west of Seattle refused to let their children take the Washington State Measurements of Student Progress exam in April, they moved the anti-testing movement to a new phase of civil disobedience.

From two at an elementary school in Portland, Maine, to 550 in Snohomish, to 1,427 in Colorado, frustrated families that oppose the high-stakes tests required by the 11-year-old No Child Left Behind law are deploying a new weapon: keeping their kids from taking them.

“Talking to those in power has not accomplished anything,” says Tim Slekar, an associate professor of teacher education at Pennsylvania State University's Altoona campus and an outspoken opponent of the high-stakes tests. “But when you get larger groups together to make this kind of statement, it empowers the movement.”

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.