Common Core Exams Push Some Parents to Opt-Out

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

StudentsFirst organized Common Core supporters in December, and is now part of Higher Achievement NY to support the standards (Yasmeen Khan/WNYC)

Controversial Common Core standards are now pushing some parents around the country to have their children opt of standardized testing.

Over the next few weeks, between March 24th and June 6th, more than 4 million students in 36 states and Washington, D.C. will take tests aligned to the new Common Core standards.

This year, the scores won't count. Rather, these field tests are designed to see what works and what doesn't before the real thing begins next year.

But a growing number of parents and activists are convinced high-profile tests aren't accurate markers of a child's achievement, and many are choosing to "opt-out" by boycotting the test entirely.

New York City resident Liz Rosenberg, a parent of two children ages 10 and 4-years-old, says her 10-year-old is opting out of tests this week.

Carmel Martin, executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress and the former assistant secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development at the Department of Education, explains how this round of testing compares to years past.


Carmel Martin and Liz Rosenberg

Produced by:

Ellen Frankman


T.J. Raphael

Comments [6]

Matt from Pennsylvania

The Finland trope is played. Get real! You can't just pick up part of one educational system and drop it down into another system. These systems evolve over decades due to culture, politics and economics.

There are good reasons for testing: finding achievement gaps, helping administrators benchmark their achievement, charting a school's progress.

But this testing has gone off the rails. It matters too much in the evaluations. The outsized influence sets up perverse incentives for districts and teachers!

Rest control from the learning companies.

And let districts develop alternative assessments. Let districts innovate. Add other methods of evaluating both districts and teachers. Reduce the relative importance of standardized tests so they’re not the be-all, end-all.


Apr. 10 2014 01:58 PM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

I don't want my kids to learn how to take a test when they are only in third grade. I want them to learn how to learn.

No teacher should be left behind.

The tests evaluate the teachers, and will be used against them if the students don't do well. I am sure of this.

Apr. 02 2014 02:12 PM
Janine Sopp from Brooklyn, NY

Opting out is the only thing to do. They do not tell parents or teachers how a student is doing. Teachers know how their students are doing and time and time again, we do not hear these tests tell teachers anything. They are a waste of time and money. This means to the end is taking important resources away from the classroom, where they are sorely needed. End the use of high stakes tests and stop seeing our children as human capital and future workers in our economy. They will be fine tackling life w/o these standards. They need to have rich curriculum that speaks to their appropriate ages. Parents are opting out because these tests don’t actually measure the skills we want students to learn, they take precious time away from actual learning, filling days and weeks with test prep, which then lowers the passion and creativity necessary for learning. Recognizing that poverty is at the heart of divide is where the focus needs to be, and not on a set of standards that cannot be attained w/o addressing this first. Parents from every school want more than these tests for their children.

Apr. 02 2014 01:43 PM
Daniel from NYC

Ms. Martin was less than honest when she said that teachers were involved with the writing of the Common Core. These standards were written quickly, almost entirely behind closed doors, by a small cohort of people who over represented the interests of education publishing and testing companies. David Coleman, one of the lead authors along with his allies from Achieve and with substantial financial support from the Gates Foundation, is now head of the College Board and publishing, testing and technology companies are monetizing our public schools at a rapid pace.

Teachers were never essential to the creation of the Common Core, but some very influential and wealthy people certainly were.

Apr. 02 2014 01:11 PM
ML from Miami FL

All the greatest minds come from Finland.

Apr. 02 2014 09:53 AM
Richard Feidler from Conneaut lake pa


Apr. 02 2014 09:20 AM

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