From Tom, an MEA member: At the Fall Conference the MEA's position on standardized testing was mentioned along with the right that parents have to opt their children out of standardized testing. “I’m curious about this policy position/statement and how it is going to be shared and/or publicized. I think this would be a good opportunity to build up the capacity of all members to be advocates for public education by rallying around this issue.”
My answer: MEA has been at the forefront of speaking against over-testing our students. We agree we must be making decisions that are in the best interest of our students and be advocates for them. Over-testing is simply not good. You can see our MEA Board of Directors position on Common Core and the assessments by going to our website at www.maineea.org/commoncore.
MEA’s Board discussed the parental Opt Out issue again at our December meeting. The decision to Opt Out of standardized testing needs to be made by the family or community. The MEA Board believes that there are several avenues available to parents who want to learn more about Opt Out. Those include community action by interested groups, but does not include teacher recommendation to Opt Out. There may be consequences - a massive Opt Out action may put a school in jeopardy of being a “failing school.”
Please remember to check our association website on a regular basis. We post important information including MEA Board of Directors positions like ours on Common Core and testing and our research papers like the one on Virtual Schools. Our MEA Facebook page also is a good resource for information. And watch for announcements of meetings and trainings held by UniServ Director field staff.
We all know doing what is right for our students is essential, leading MEA to call for changes to the Common Core implementation and its associated testing. Testing, and preparing for testing, needs to be addressed by parents and educators. When the Legislature convenes be ready to tell your story to your local Senators and Representatives so they have a full understanding of the effect on students.
Lois on "Opt Out"
"There are several active groups that provide information about and encourage Opting Out including "Change the Stakes," "Fair Test" and on Facebook "Opt Out of Standardized Tests - Maine." In addition to Colorado, at least three states - Florida, New York and New Jersey - have activist parents leading strong Opt Out movements."
"One example of community action occurred in Boulder, CO where more than 200 students and families decided to Opt Out citing tests that don't align with curriculum, don't impact college enrollment, and aren't reliable indicators of success."