Opt-Out Efforts Undermine Parents’ and Teachers’ Access to Accurate Information about Student Readiness

Opt-out efforts in Long Island, New York culminated in a “giant win” for activists, and supporters are still demanding changes, even if it’s unclear what those goals are, the Long Island Press reports. “[Parents’] message has been effective: No more Common Core.”

However, parents’ frustrations—which have compelled many to get behind the opt-out movement—should not be directed at the Common Core. Their concerns lie with testing policy, which is set by the state officials and entirely different from the state’s Common Core Standards.

“There is no such thing as a ‘Common Core testing regime.’ Common Core is not a test,” a recent analysis by the Collaborative for Student Success explains. “Testing policy is set by authorities at the state and local level.

Jeanette Deutermann, an opt-out leader in Long Island, claims the efforts aim to change policy. “The bottom line is that some of these big wins could mean huge, sweeping changes for some districts.” But, as the article acknowledges, there is little consensus about what those goals are.

“Let’s be clear: there are constructive ways to improve education and accountability policies. Opting out is not one of them,” former Education Secretary Bill Bennett wrote earlier this year. “Refusing to participate in assessments puts students, parents and teachers at a disadvantage, and it does little to address legitimate concerns about the quality and volume of state tests.”

Opt-out efforts threaten to undo the work states have invested to level honestly with parents and teachers. As Kati Haycock, president of the Education Trust, put it: “When we are finally going in the right direction, why would we even consider going back?”